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Personality Traits Don't Affect Breast Cancer Risk

Authors of 1996 study that concluded differently took second look, found no connection,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A woman's personality traits do not affect breast cancer risk, a follow-up study finds.

In 1996, researchers at The Netherlands Cancer Institute identified a weak association between development of breast cancer and anti-emotionality, a lack of emotional behavior or trust in one's own feelings. This was the only personality trait found to be associated with breast cancer.

The researchers conducted a second study with the same group of about 9,700 women who'd filled out a questionnaire designed to assess personality traits such as anti-emotionality, anger, anxiety, understanding, optimism and emotional expression.

Among these women, 217 were diagnosed with breast cancer during the five- to 13-year follow-up. There was no evidence of a link between a specific personality trait or personality profile and increased breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

"We could not confirm our previously reported association between anti-emotionality and breast cancer. Our finding that no psychological risk profile was associated with the incidence of breast cancer may help oncologists to reassure patients that their personality appears to have played no role in the development of their breast cancer," the study authors wrote.

The findings were published in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about breast cancer risk factors.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Jan. 28, 2008

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