A new study argues that psychological stress has been linked to higher rates of cancer-related mortality among women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
According to one of the researchers involved in the study, patients who receive a cancer diagnosis will become more vulnerable to a large assortment of mental conditions which are linked to higher stress. Among we can count depression, anxiety, stress reaction, and issues with adjustment. Data collected from epidemiological and experimental studies infer that the psychological issues could interact with the progression of several cancer types.
In the case of the study, the researchers focused on the potential influence of stress in cancer-related mortality among patients diagnosed with cervical cancer. During the study, the researchers analyzed the medical record of 4,250 patients who were diagnosed with cervical cancer in Sweden over a period of ten years.
By using personal identification numbers, they were able to correlate the patients with data from the Swedish Patient Register, which stores information related to a medical activity like hospital discharge data and visits to specialized doctors.
The data allowed the researchers to find patients who were diagnosed with one of three mental disorders: depression, anxiety, and issues related to a stress reaction and adjustment. Patients who underwent a stressful life event, for example, the death of a loved one, severe illness or divorce were also taken into account since they tend to contribute to emotional problems.
With the help of the Sweden Causes of Death Register, the scientist identified women who died from cervical cancer or uterine cancers. Researchers observed that over 1,392 died within the specific timeframe explored by the research, with cervical cancer being the cause of death for 1,005 patients.
Patients who had a stress-related disorder or underwent a stressful life event had a higher risk of dying due to the disease by up to 33% in comparison to patients who didn’t report such problems. The study was published in a scientific journal.