Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Cancer?


Each and every one of us has Cancer cells in our bodies, but not all of us will actually get cancer.

Cancer lies dormant in all of us.  Our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check.

However, when you are in a state of constant stress and your body is in perpetual fight-or-flight mode, the effects include damage to your body, mood, and behavior.  Stress damages your DNA, making you sick both physically and mentally, and can subtract up to eight years or more from your life span depending on your genetic predispositions.  Your body’s systems fall out of sync, which in turn ages you prematurely.  Your immune system becomes critically at risk, resulting in a higher risk of developing cancer and other life-shortening illnesses.

Emotional abuse can cause severe physical problems as the body attempts to reveal the effects of the abuse through various symptoms.  Over time, repressed feelings from being emotionally and verbally abused can cause cancer, heart disease, ulcers, back pain, and a host of other physical ailments.

According to Foundation for Women’s Cancer:

When you’re stressed, your body makes certain so-called “stress” hormones to deal with it. In many cancers, these hormones bind with cancer cells. That can make the cells more invasive and help protect them as they move from one part of the body to another. This makes it easier for tumors to grow and cancer to spread.

Stress also can affect your immune system. Studies show that stress interferes with the way certain cells in your immune system work. In particular, it affects cells that find and that kill emerging cancer cells.

There are studies that claim there is no link between chronic, long-term stress and cancer.  But recent evidence is accumulating that there is some link between stress and developing certain kinds of cancer, as well as how the disease progresses.  Other studies have gone as far as to show that women who experienced traumatic life events or losses had significantly higher rates of breast cancer.

Another thing to consider is that if your Narcissistic partner is cheating, they can transfer the Human papillomavirus (HPV).  HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.

Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV.   People with weak immune systems may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.  If you’re a man who has an unfaithful Narcissistic partner, new research suggests a higher risk of prostate cancer from STDs.

Aside from cancer, effects of long-term emotional abuse by significant others, boyfriends or girlfriends include:

  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Emotional instability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical pain without cause
  • Suicidal ideation, thoughts or attempts
  • Extreme dependence on the abuser
  • Substance abuse

For every day your Narcissistic partner abuses you emotionally and verbally, your chances of developing cancer and other life-threatening conditions increases.  In fact, depending on how long you’ve been with them, your life span may have already been shortened considerably.  Go No Contact today and begin adding those years back!  

Get help implementing and maintaining No Contact with The Better Life Bundle!

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  1. Pingback: 3 Key Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  2. Linda

    I have cancer and it is very clearly a result of the emotional abuse I experience in a 13-year relationship. Thank you for speaking this truth. I know it is true, but many people do not believe me. It is validating and helps me heal to ead this.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Linda,

      I’m so sorry to learn this. I hope you are able to go into remission and further heal on an emotional level. I’m glad my article helped you feel validated.

      Kim XoXo

    2. prettygirl

      Why arnt there laws to protect us they are literally killing us and we arnt even aloud to be angry. I have been old before my time since I can remember. People always thought I was the older sister even though I was five years younger. I’ve looked like a thirty year old woman since I was twelve. I was raised in a narcissist family and I just continued the cycle. I picked a man just like my mom and sister thinking I was stopping the cycle because I was staying away from any man who resembled my angry heart diseased father I didn’t realize how backwards I had the whole thing, how backwards society has the whole thing. This NPD man I picked is the insidiousness of nightmares, I cant get to a doctor till I can get out but I know im dying, my heart and kidneys my brain everything my skin is just dripping off of me.
      Disease IS victimhood spreading.
      You are clearly a warrior for enduring 13years, if you were strong enough to get out your strong enough to survive anything Linda be proud that is something to be proud of let THAT emotion spread instead of victimhood.
      Thank you for the great article Kim

  3. Natalia

    I had BC and hernia in my neck that required a surgery. When I got sick narc discarded me. I’m on disability because of severe depression. Please, don’t wait, leave them now, no matter what, life is much better without them.

    1. prettygirl

      Happyiness is for the crazies we live in a narcissistic society that pushes this on us, you must strive to be happy at all costs. I truly believe we should be reaching for peace and be makers and strive to have pride I remember giving birth and that feeling of pride that washed over me was a flood of light that I still have no comparison too(then they took him and it was never the same) the Native North Americans said the white people were infected with witica (narcissism). The tribes that were peaceful existing with their environments so clearly saw this as a disease because they saw disease as communication with the environment. Most Native North American tribes did not smile with their teeth but with closed mouths and a feeling of pride connectedness think of pocahanis’s friend in that movie when she says “ohh and I especially love his smile” and cocoum is standing there Proud, most white people did not get that and thought it was a joke but it wasn’t. The Greeks recognized this same thing, many ancient cultures have this similar belief on happiness, biologists record these imbalances in animal societies when their ecosystem is unbalanced, almost like mother natures kill code. Narcissists(the happiest people in the world) seem designed to affect the environment that created them. They are about the end always the end. leave a narcissist alone and their nature will eventually bring about their own demise but not until they have greatly affected their environment. You cant make a future with someone whos nature is to destroy.

  4. Free at last

    Absolutely true! I’ve just left a narc after 10 years and have no doubt the health problems I experienced are a result of the ongoing stress that marriage meant to me. Besides the common depression, anxiety and addiction issues I had, I had a rare type of spinal tomour that was removed by major surgery and now have a fibroid (uterine tumour) that might need surgery. My lifestyle is otherwise healthy and no doctors could explain how these tumours just appeared in my body. I can’t stress how important it is to LEAVE the narc if you feel trapped in a relationship, leave NOW and start healing, so you can be able to start living and avoid major health issues. There’s always a way!!!

  5. Desi

    I was told by several therapists, doctors that stress can cause BC. And on an al anon video there was a high correlation of BC caused by living with an alcoholic.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Desi, thank you for confirming that long-term emotional stress can and does lead to BC. I hope anyone who reads your comment will find the courage to leave their own toxic relationship <3

  6. Melinda

    I believe it can cause cancer. Years of verbal/emotional abuse have taken a toll on me…my stepfather and others did a lot of damage.
    I am now overweight, severely depressed, and already shifting into menopause in my 30’s. I was living in an extremely toxic environment for years and I’m convinced that it had an effect on my health. I was in constant “fight or flight” mode; I never knew what would send my abuser(s) into a rage.

    Also, my stepfather (who mistreated me and my mother for years) had a cousin who died from cancer at 50.
    She was a sweetheart but her own mother had abused her for years…mentally, emotionally, physically. Even after she died her mother was still saying terrible things about her.
    I can’t help but wonder if maybe Donna’s battle with cancer was partly due to the years of abuse she suffered from her mother. My stepfather’s family tends to normalize abuse, so anything is possible.

    And I also think about Michael Jackson…his death wasn’t cancer-related, but his narcissistic father abused him and deprived him of a happy childhood. Abuse of any kind can harm a person’s health and make them susceptible to illness/disease.

  7. Freebird

    So true… Even abusive parents or relatives can cause cancer. And it is very stressful all the gaslighting and hypocrysy one undergoes until achieving no contact.

  8. Beth

    It is absolutely true, stress can cause cancer to raise its ugly head. During my treatments for BC, I found support on, it was spooky how many women were going through crap with their spouses and developed BC. I had a conversation with someone yesterday who said he was sorry I went through the BC. My response was with out the BC, I would not have gotten so down that I sought help. That therapy was what opened my eyes to the fact I wasn’t the crazy psycho bitch he always told me I was, I was living with a emotional abuser, it wasn’t “all” me!

  9. Surayya

    why is it so hard to find the right therapist? I had one but stopped going. I received absolute no help .

    1. Kim Saeed

      I had the same experience. Sadly, most therapists, in general, have very little experience dealing with narcissists, much less how to treat the victims of that type of abuse. There are some good therapists out there, but they are very hard to find.

  10. Surayya

    Kim, the emotional abuse , the list of effects of emotional abuse , I fit all except the last one, instead of substance abuse i emotional eat. But I am going through each and every effects esp pain without cause. Very painful aches , I feel paralyzed at times with aches

  11. Surayya

    oh dear i knew it , i was wondering how come cheating partners get away with clean bill of health. they don’t. oh god thank god I dumped him six months back. It was horrific roller coaster three years with him. Oh wow, cervical cancer, vulva , vagina etc etc.omg scary. Thank God I left him..

  12. Pingback: Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Cancer? | Protective Mothers' Alliance International

  13. Susan

    You are amazing, your work is so needed at this time on the planet. Your deep knowledge, experience and insight are so valuable. Thank you for doing this work. Rock on. Susan


    1. Kim Saeed

      Wow! Thank you, Susan. Your comment really means a lot 🙂 <3

  14. I so believe and see the truth in this. Being able to look back, I can see a correlation between my health and the abuse. Mine was mostly arthritis related.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you, AOA. I was in a bad state of health, too. It took a couple of years to heal from it completely, both mentally and physically.

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