Final Project Research Proposal (Revised)
What is the relationship between stress and cancer?
I began my preliminary research with the experiments and studies conducted by “the father of stress” himself, Hans Selye. Selye conducted experiments on lab rats, studied their behavior, and introduced the concept of the General Adaptation Syndrome and stress. The next step in my research brought me to a map of field of stress science, where I was able to conclude a correlation between stress and cancer (as well as many other side-effects, but I do not anticipate focusing on any of those unless they can also lead to cancer).
Of course, I need to start with developing a basic understanding of what stress actually is. Next, I will research how stress affects the body on a biological level – questioning not only what stress can do, but also how. Once these basics are fully understood, I can begin working toward finding data suggesting a correlation between stress and cancer. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a study conducted solely for this purpose: to explain how stress actually does in fact cause cancer. Then I will really focus on the specifics. How does stress inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors? Are certain parts of the body more susceptible to these stress-caused tumors?
From the basic research I’ve already conducted, a relationship between stress and cancer definitely does exist. Whether this relationship is the result of correlation or causation, however, I still do not know. I hypothesize that the biological effects of stress on the body somehow affect the DNA to promote cellular reproduction.
Contrada, Richard, and Andrew Baum. The Handbook of Stress Science: Biology,
Psychology, and Health. Springer, 2011. Print.
Moreno-Smith, Myrthala. “Impact of Stress on Cancer Metastasis.” Future Oncol 6.12
(2010): 1863-881. PMC. Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
Selye, Hans. The Stress of Life. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956. Print.