Navigation Links
Study Suggests Link Between Stress and Aggressive Breast Cancer
Date:9/23/2011

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that black and Hispanic women with breast cancer suffer more stress than white women, and the researchers connected the extra stress to more aggressive tumors.

But, the study authors cautioned that the research is preliminary and doesn't provide insight into whether the women's stress levels already were high before diagnosis, whether the stress levels increased after diagnosis, or whether the increased stress caused the cancer to be more aggressive.

Still, the findings point to one possible -- if unconfirmed -- explanation why breast cancer is generally worse in black and Hispanic women, said study lead author Garth H. Rauscher.

"One possible reason for that, among others, could be differences in the role of stress in influencing the development of breast cancer," said Rauscher, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health.

The researchers studied 989 breast cancer patients who had been recently diagnosed with the disease. Within two to three months after their diagnosis, the women responded to surveys about their levels of stress; the surveys asked about issues such as their levels of loneliness, anxiety and fear.

The investigators also used medical tests to examine the aggressiveness of the women's tumors.

Eleven percent of the 397 white women in the study reached a level of stress that the researchers considered to be elevated, Rauscher said. However, the stress levels were about twice as high for the two minority groups: 24 percent of the 181 Hispanic women and 22 percent of the 411 black women reported elevated stress. (Other minority groups weren't included in the study.)

Rauscher said more research is needed because the study didn't answer how stress might be linked to the aggressiveness of tumors. Did the stress come first? Or the tumors? Or did both appear at the same time?

"If we'd interviewed these women one year or five years or 10 years prior to diagnosis, would these same women have reported greater levels of stress than their counterparts in the study?" he asked. "It's fairly reasonable to assume there's a correlation in the level of stress they report after diagnosis and what they reported prior to that, but we don't have any data to say that's true."

However, Rauscher said the new research is consistent with previous findings from studies in rodents. Those studies found that severe stress and social isolation boosted the risk of breast cancer, he noted.

The study was to be presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, in Washington D.C. The findings should be viewed as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Dr. Laura Kruper, an assistant professor and cancer surgeon at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., cautioned that the study doesn't allow any conclusions to be made about how stress is connected to more aggressive tumors. "To clearly show an association between higher stress levels and aggressiveness of breast cancer, patients would have to be followed for many years prior to diagnosis to see if patients with higher levels of stress developed more aggressive forms of cancer," she said.

Kruper said the idea that stress causes cancer is unproven, although it's possible. A cancer diagnosis can certainly cause stress, she said.

"Some patients need temporary anti-anxiety medications. Most only need the medications during a short time during their treatment," she said. "We often prescribe low-dose antidepressants, not only to help with mood, which can definitely be impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis, but also to help combat the side effects of the breast cancer treatments such as hot flashes."

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has a fact sheet about psychological stress and cancer.

SOURCES: Garth H. Rauscher, Ph.D., associate professor, epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago; Laura Kruper, M.D., assistant professor and surgeon, General Oncologic Surgery, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; Sept. 19, 2011, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, Washington, D.C.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Study shows soy protein reduced progression of clogged arteries in women within 5 years of menopause
2. Some brain wiring continues to develop well into our 20s: U of A study
3. New study proposes public health guidelines to reduce the harms from cannabis use
4. Popular Diabetes Drugs May Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk, Study Suggests
5. Lung cancer research team awarded $1.43 million to study cancer in Eastern Kentucky
6. Study to test efficacy of prenatal intervention, support on lowering postpartum depression in teens
7. Email sexual advice study highlights problems raised by different ages and cultures
8. Two-Day Dialysis Interval Could Pose Danger: Study
9. Study reveals rise in prostate biopsy complications and high post-procedure hospitalization rate
10. Japan Reactor Fallout Reached San Francisco Bay Area: Study
11. Alzheimers disease: The first prevention study of its kind
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a Media Slicing ... their videos a whole new perspective by using the title layers in ProSlice ... , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. FCPX ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice ... overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, ... a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As ... with Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine ... and returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Canada (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional ... pursuit of success. In terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can ... risk more than just slow progress toward their goal. , Research from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world ... in the report includes the following: , ... by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., (NASDAQ: ... drugs, announced today that it was added to the ... its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes ... important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief Executive Officer ... our progress in developing drugs for crucial unmet medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal ... million in funding.  The Series-A funding is led ... the Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, ... less-invasive neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: