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Study links chronic stress of cancer with telomere length

March 09, 2016

The six sessions consisted of a quality of life and psychosocial profile, managing stress and emotions, enhancing health and wellness, addressing relational and sexual concerns, and integrating and summarizing the information. At enrollment and after four months, the researchers obtained biological samples from both groups and investigated changes over time to see if psychological counseling had any physical effects.

"Improved quality of life and reduced stress response was associated with changes in telomere length," Nelson said.

"It is important to recognize that this was an exploratory and preliminary analysis. We embarked on the first study of telomere length and chronic stress in a cancer population and the first longitudinal analysis in whether changes in quality of life and changes in the stress response would be associated with modulating the telomere length," he said.

Still, he added, "there is no doubt that offering psychological services has the potential to improve quality of life and outcomes of patients. After all, making patients feel better should be an outcome that a cancer team should want to have, but whether we can draw conclusions or make recommendations about the capacity of a behavioral intervention to modulate telomere length remains an open question."

Source: American Association for Cancer Research