Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Cancer?

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jun 24


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!  

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(22) comments

[…] in love with, but loving a narcissist is about as good for you as a cancer diagnosis.  In fact, narcissistic abuse has been correlated with certain types of cancer.  (And if you do have cancer, leaving the narcissist is the first empowering step you can take […]

Linda October 21, 2017

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.

    Kim Saeed October 22, 2017

    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

Natalia January 18, 2017

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.

simons December 18, 2015

Stress is most common problem for young people. Stressful life cannot bring happiness. read more

Free at last December 15, 2015

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!!!

Desi September 17, 2015

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.

    Kim Saeed September 17, 2015

    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

Melinda July 4, 2015

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.

Freebird April 23, 2015

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.

Beth December 28, 2014

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!

Surayya November 13, 2014

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

    Kim Saeed November 14, 2014

    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.

Surayya November 13, 2014

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

Surayya November 13, 2014

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..

bamboozled1 June 25, 2014

totally believe it!

    Kim Saeed June 25, 2014

    Thanks, Bamboozled1!

Susan June 24, 2014

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


    Kim Saeed June 25, 2014

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

armyofangels2013 June 24, 2014

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.

    Kim Saeed June 25, 2014

    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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