Why is managing anxiety important?
Anxiety is linked to higher risks of cancer, of recurrence, and of cancer-related death, and also worse inflammation, a body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more factor linked to cancer. We don’t know whether anxiety contributes to worse health, or if worse health contributes to anxiety, or if the link works in both directions. Since we have good evidence of links, managing your anxiety may be one step you can take to improve your outcomes.
Connections to cancer outcomes
Good evidencesignificant effects in one large or several mid-sized and well-designed clinical studies (randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with an appropriate placebo or other strong comparison control or observational studies that control for confounds) (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of higher cancer-specific and all-cause mortality among people with breast cancer experiencing anxiety
Good evidence of higher risk of recurrence among people with breast cancer experiencing anxiety
Connections to body terrain
Find out why your body terrain is important for cancer outcomes in Optimizing Your Body Terrain ›
Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of a link between anxiety or fear of cancer recurrence and the composition of the gut microbiome; we don’t know which direction the link operates, or if it operates in both directions
Connections to symptoms and side effects
Modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs), or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of lower cognitive performance and self-perception of worse memory and attention before surgery, mostly for brain tumors, among people with clinically relevant anxiety
Modest evidence of more depressive symptoms after surgery among people with clinically relevant anxiety before surgery, mostly for brain tumors
Modest evidence of lower health-related quality of life before surgery among people with clinically relevant anxiety
Preliminary evidence of more sleep disturbance in the first year after mastectomy among people with breast cancer with anxiety