"One way job stress could impact cancer is if people who have stress are more prone to be smokers or drink more alcohol, or be obese," she explained.
When the researchers tried to eliminate these factors from their data, they could be hiding a substantial number of people for whom stress leads directly to behaviors known to increase the risk for cancer, Ward noted.
For more on stress and cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Katriina Heikkila, Ph.D., Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki; Lidia Schapira, M.D., associate editor, psychosocial oncology, Cancer.Net, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and assistant professor, department of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., national vice president, intramural research, American Cancer Society; Feb. 7, 2013, BMJ, online
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