Women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer who have also endured previous traumatic or stressful events see their cancer recur nearly twice as fast as other women, according to a report by a University of Rochester Medical Center scientist.
The small, retrospective study showed that women who faced physical or sexual abuse or life-threatening situations see metastatic tumors return after about 2.5 years, compared with women who have more peaceful lives, who see recurrence at about five years. The report was published in this months Journal of Psychosomatic Research by scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Stanford University School of Medicine.
While some of the reported events are less common than others, they all took a toll on the women and, scientists believe, may have contributed to the recurrence of disease.
There is such a dramatic difference between women who had experienced traumatic things and those who didnt, said Oxana Palesh, Ph.D., first author of the study and research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology and Psychiatry at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Clearly this study demonstrates that its important to recover from trauma or stressful event for your mental and physical health.
The relationship between stress and breast cancer has been heavily studied, however the results are murky. Studies have shown that stress can alter the immune systems function, and that the activity of natural killer cells is related to breast cancer progression. But scientists have had more difficulty showing a link between stress and the development of breast cancer. Some large-scale studies have shown connections between recent stressful life events, such as the death of a spouse, and breast cancer risk, while others have not. Scientists are intrigued by the conflicting evidence, and research continues.
In this most recent effort, the bi-
|Contact: Leslie White|
University of Rochester Medical Center