Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Cancer?

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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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Marina says February 16, 2022

It’s so good to be on a website where I feel validated.I thought I was going crazy !! That’s what narcissistic relationships do to us.The gaslighting I experienced left me feeling this way.
Well hooray to my new found freedom by my narcissistic ex of 11 + years.
He saw the end to his wife by driving her to alcohol – she died at the tender age of 40 years.He smeared her name by telling people after her death that she was doing drugs and he’d found needles and syringes in her drawers after her death.He brainwashed their children telling them they were better off without their mother as she drove with them on her lap whilst intoxicated.He was seen to be laughing and joking at her funeral.Well none of this washed with me as I knew her as I’d worked with her several years earlier ( when I didn’t know him).She was a kindly quiet soul and didn’t have the support to leave him.She was tied to him by marriage, kids, finances etc.When I met and got with him 2 years after her death, I was shocked that he hadn’t
taken the children to visit their mother’s grave -I made it a point too and they now visit regularly.He destroyed my relationship with them by I can only assume lying to them about me.He couldn’t bear that I had a good relationship with them – but I leave it to karma !

He abused me emotionally and psychologically.I’m a nurse by profession and had never heard the word “Narcissists”.One day I was so fed up of all the arguing and couldn’t understand how these even started – I decided to google some of his behaviours which told me I was in a narcissistic relationship. He gaslighted me to such an extent I questioned my own sanity.
Well in December 2020 I was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.This came as a surprise to me, my children and my family as there was no family history of any cancer .This was after he’d taken me away on a break during which the abuse escalated ( whilst I was even more isolated).He’d often do this – book to go away so he could increase the abuse whilst I was away from family & friends.

Well it was no surprise he discarded me after not being there for me throughout the year of my cancer treatment.He made some horrible remarks including telling me he wished me to die from cancer.

It’s been hard but I have severed all ties with him and gone ‘ no contact’. I’m having counselling to help me regain my confidence.

I’m happy to link up with any other women who have found themselves in this situation and to help empower you to leave and extend your life – coz it will kill you.

Anonymous says September 16, 2019

And every time I decide I really need to see a therapist one of the first things they tell me is that if there’s any evidence that I’ve been abused they’re required to report which scares me off so I end up not getting the therapy I need

Anonymous says September 16, 2019

For years my husband would make my life hell every time I had to go to the doctor even if it was covered by health insurance like a Pap smear. So after a while I stopped going because the punishment was too hard to take. And now I have cervical cancer.

Anonymous says August 7, 2019

I also just weeks ago left my narcissistic abuser of 3yrs for good after being diagnosed with rectal cancer ! after my diagnosis he told me he couldnt be my partner anymore oh but we can stay friends! he said,.and it has nothing to do with you being diagnosed with cancer! Wtf Really?
I left him that night and he still continues to F!#K with me! I really think he’s trying to finish me off!

How to Get Ready for Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Journey - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Personal Growth says December 2, 2018

[…] 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 […]

How to Get Ready for Your Recovery Journey - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Personal Growth says December 1, 2018

[…] 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 […]

Virginia says September 3, 2018

I blame my cancer on the stress of an emotionally abusive relationship with a malignant narcissist. Have had 3 consecutive clean CT scans since getting him out of my life. I developed lymphoma which is an auto immune cancer.

3 Key Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says November 29, 2017

[…] 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 says 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 says 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

    prettygirl says December 28, 2017

    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

Natalia says 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 says December 18, 2015

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

    prettygirl says December 30, 2017

    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.

Free at last says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says 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 says June 25, 2014

totally believe it!

    Kim Saeed says June 25, 2014

    Thanks, Bamboozled1!

Susan says 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 says June 25, 2014

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

armyofangels2013 says 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 says 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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