Study published on anxiety, depression, and risk of certain cancers

A study, from University College London and University of Edinburgh, has shown that higher levels of psychological distress, such as anxiety and depression, can be associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. However, the findings are observational so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

Researchers analysed data from 16 studies between 1994 and 2008. This totalled 163,363 men and women, over the age of 16, who were cancer free before the study started. Their psychological distress scores were determined using the general health questionnaire with participants monitored for an average of nine and a half years. During the course of the study 4,353 people died from cancer.

The study's lead author, Dr David Batty, from University College London said the, "findings contribute to the evidence that poor mental health might have some predictive capacity for certain physical diseases but we are a long way off from knowing if these relationships are truly causal."

A BMJ press release can be read here, and the study can be found here. The story was covered by The Telegraph, here.

Page published: Tue 31 January 2017

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