Breast cancer survivors consider stress as major factor for their disease

Breast cancer survivors consider stress as major factor for their disease

According to a report and survey published in Psychooncology a substantial part of women who had survived breast cancer believe that there is a link between breast cancer and psychological stress.

In this report, Stewart DE et al., from the University Health Network Women’s Health Program, University of Toronto, Canada surveyed 378 women breast cancer survivors about their views on the cause and lack of recurrence of their breast cancer.

Interestingly, women who responded to the question about the cause of breast cancer attributed it mostly to stress (42.2%), genetics (26.7%), environment (25.5%) and hormones (23.9%).

Thus, the majority (42%) believed stress was one of the main causes of their disease.

Despite the high profile of families with a genetic link in recent years, only 27% thought genetics was a factor, with almost the same number suggesting environmental factors had played a part in causing their cancer.

According to a BBC news report (see below), Dr. Donna Stewart, who led the study, said the belief that stress had caused their disease, and lifestyle changes following it could help women feel they had control over the condition.

Emerging evidence and other recent studies indicate a link between psychological stress, or stress hormones and breast cancer.

Source: Psychooncology, 2001, 10:179-83
news.bbc.co.uk

Source: Cover Image: Credit Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images. Breast cancer cells. A cluster of breast cancer cells showing visual evidence of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in yellow. Scanning electron micrograph.

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