Although many chronic and severe diseases such as cancer are apparently physical, they can also lead to psychological distress and poor quality of life. On the other hand, chronic stress may affect the physical biological systems negatively and cause unfavorable health consequences.
Because stress is commonly seen together with chronic diseases, it needs to be addressed to promote the effective treatment and recovery of the diseases as well as to improve the quality of life. For example, in the case of cancer biology, stress plays an important role as it is closely related to poor clinical results (Chaoul et al., 2014). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has suggested that patients need to be assessed with the stress thermometer. The identification of the source of the stressors and the suitable referrals are recommended.
Traditional methods from psychological and psychiatric therapies can be applied for stress management in the cases of chronic diseases. Moreover, mind-body methods from alternative and complementary medicine have also been proved useful for stress reduction and the promotion of quality of life (Chaoul et al., 2014). These methods include meditation, yoga, certain exercises, tai chi, qigong practice, and life style changes.
The incorporation of the stress screening procedures in the clinics of chronic diseases such as cancer would be helpful for better treatment outcomes and recovery results. Furthermore, the integration of the mind-body techniques for stress management may be beneficial for the promotion of the physical and mental health of the patients.
Chaoul A, Milbury K, Sood AK, Prinsloo S, Cohen L. Mind-body practices in cancer care. Curr Oncol Rep. 2014 Dec;16(12):417. doi: 10.1007/s11912-014-0417-x.