Bisher AKIL, MD

Could stress cause cancer?

In Cancer, General Health on March 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Psychological stress prompts physiological responses (e.g., release of stress hormones), which might trigger cancer-promoting effects. However, whether stress is associated with cancer is unclear. In this meta-analysis of 12 prospective European studies, researchers examined whether work-related stress is associated with cancer risk. The analysis included 116,000 working adults (age range, 17–70) who were cancer-free at baseline. Self-reported job strain (defined as high demands and low control at work) was measured at baseline using a validated questionnaire. During a mean follow-up of 12 years, nearly 5% of participants developed cancer. In analyses adjusted for multiple confounders (including socioeconomic status, smoking, and alcohol use), job strain was not associated with overall cancer risk or with risk for colorectal, lung, breast, or prostate cancer. No combination of work demand (high vs. low) and control (high vs. low) was associated with overall cancer risk.

Published in Journal Watch General Medicine

Citation: Heikkilä K et al. Work stress and risk of cancer: Meta-analysis of 5700 incident cancer events in 116 000 European men and women. BMJ 2013 Feb 7; 346:f165.

Comment: So, no, you can not blame your job for causing cancer; however, there are data to connect heart problems with the stress of job. In a study in 2012 (The Lancet; Volume 380, Issue 9852, 27 October–2 November 2012, Pages 1491–1497),the authors “analysed the relation between job strain and coronary heart disease with a meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies”, and their “findings suggest that prevention of workplace stress might decrease disease incidence; however, this strategy would have a much smaller effect than would tackling of standard risk factors, such as smoking”.

 

 

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