Can Stress Cause Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a cancer of lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cells that help in fighting against diseases. There are two types of lymphoma namely Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Hodgkin lymphoma affects lymph nodes one at a time while the non-Hodgkin form of lymphoma only affects selected lymph nodes. It is also regarded as a blood cancer because the lymphatic system, where the lymphocytes are situated, is part of the bloodstream. Cancer can therefore easily metastasize into other parts of the body including internal organs since blood flow is everywhere in the body. Lymphoma often spreads to the lungs, liver, and bone marrow. The main symptom of a lymphoma is swollen or enlarged lymph nodes which do not go away even with treatment.

Can Stress Cause Lymphoma?

As the etiology of lymphoma is not known, we can say that may not cause it, but chronic stress deteriorates your health. When you are suppressed to long periods of psychological stress, your health may be implicated. Even worse, if you are already ailing from a certain condition because stress can worsen the situation. When you are stressed, the body produces hormones i.e. epinephrine, cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, which can have a long-term negative effect on your health. Epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure as well as increased levels of blood sugar levels. On the other hand, cortisol and adrenaline can suppress your immune system, making you vulnerable to illnesses. Under these conditions, your body weakens and your condition can worsen. In scientific studies on the effect of psychological stress, some findings reveal that stress can make the tumors grow and metastasize fast. However, no real evidence has been found that stress can cause cancer.

Can Stress Cause Lymphoma?

How To Cope With Stress If You Have Lymphoma?

To avoid any consequences that will be attributed to by stress, you should try and manage your stress levels. You can do so by having emotional support, whereby you have someone to rely on when you are at your lowest. You can also join a support group and express yourself. This helps with reducing levels of depression and well as anxiety. It can be difficult coping with lymphoma because it is a rare type of cancer, but you can consult your doctor for more information. Last but not least, make sure you eat well and stay as relaxed as you possibly can. In addition to that, make sure you adapt yoga and meditation techniques to help you stay relaxed and connect with your mind and body as well.

What Causes Lymphoma?

Cancer is associated with the excess growth of cells which cannot be controlled. When you are suffering from a lymphoma, then it means your lymphocyte cells are growing at an abnormal rate. However, the actual reason as to why the lymphocytes grow abnormally is unknown. Nonetheless, there are a few triggers which lead to the occurrence of lymphoma which includes; age, gender, ethnicity, exposure to chemicals, body weight and diet, infections, genetic composition, and autoimmune deficiencies. In the two types of lymphomas, the possible risk factors are different and they affect patients’ differently.

Stress is a feeling of pressure that can be caused by different events in our lives. It could be a feeling of worry or anxiety. If you are ailing from a particular illness that can be life-threatening, it is only normal that you would experience some level of stress. Being diagnosed with lymphoma cancer can take a toll on your emotional and mental stability. This is because you will get stressed about the illness itself, the upcoming treatment procedures and even fear of loss of life. All this can negatively affect or even worsen your condition. However, stress cannot cause lymphoma.


The etiology of lymphoma is unknown, and although there are certain risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing cancer, stress is not one of them. Regardless, stress can deteriorate your health status, especially if it affects your immune system or causes other health complications. So, despite living with an incurable condition, such as lymphoma, ensure you find your own way of managing stress and coping the condition. Find a state of relaxation and do not cope up in stress, because it could stress is bad for your health.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 25, 2021

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