Can stress contribute to cancer? Radio host Don Imus seems to think so; yesterday, the 68-year-old told listeners of his radio show that he believes that stress led him to develop prostate cancer, according to abcnews.com. "I think it was all the stress that caused this," he reportedly said on air.
There is in fact some evidence to suggest that stress—in combination with other factors—may contribute to cancer. For example, research has found that women who think their lives are stressful appear to be more susceptible to the cancer-causing virus. "Stress is bad for your body in many ways," wrote Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, in an exchange with U.S. News that preceded Imus's diagnosis. "Overproduction of some stress hormones may actually be good for certain kinds of cancers."
Stress isn't always bad, though. U.S. News's Deborah Kotz has described how stress, if managed, can be beneficial.