Chronic stress can spread cancer through the body, according to research on mice.
The added stress increases the number and diameter of lymphatic vessels, a network which transports fluid around the body and is associated with tumours.
The lymphatic system is known to promote the spread of cancer but whether this can be influenced by stress has been unclear up to now.
The study published in the journal Nature Communications used special microscopy to track the flow of fluorescently labelled nanoparticles through the lymphatic system.
The suggest that targeting this stress pathway may be useful in blocking the spread of cancer cells.
The research was conducted by an international team including Dr Erica Sloan of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Monash University