Stress does not increase risk of breast cancer
Stress does not appear to affect the risk of breast cancer, according to a recent study, which shows no link between acute and chronic stressors, optimism, anger control, antiemotionality or social support, and breast cancer.
Researchers performed a prospective cohort repeated measures study of 3,054 adult women (mean age 45.0 years), of whom 103 developed the primary outcome of breast cancer over the mean study duration of 7.2 years. Questionnaires and interviews were used to assess acute and chronic stressors, along with psychosocial variables, at baseline and at follow-ups every 3 years.
In the final Cox proportional hazards regression model, stressors were significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer. For instance, the number of mild-to-moderate (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; 95 percent CI, 0.99–1.10; p=0.10) and high-to-severe (HR, 0.93; 0.73–1.19; p=0.57) acute stressors did not increase the risk of breast cancer.
The number of mild-to-moderate (HR, 1.00; 0.89–1.13; p=0.96) and high-to-severe (HR, 1.36; 0.91–2.04; p=0.13) chronic stressors were likewise unrelated to breast cancer development risk.
Similar trends were observed for psychosocial variables. Social support (HR, 1.00; 0.97–1.04; p=0.97), optimism (HR, 1.03; 0.98–1.08; p=0.23), antiemotionality (HR, 0.75; 0.49–1.14; p=0.17) and anger (HR, 1.00; 0.93–1.07; p=0.99) all showed null associations with breast cancer risk.
The findings suggest that women prioritize proven methods for breast cancer risk reduction, such as preventive surgery or medication and close monitoring.