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J Psychosom Res. 2007 Sep;63(3):233-9. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

Stress history and breast cancer recurrence.

Author information

  • 1University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. oxana_palesh@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is mixed evidence regarding the possible association between a history of stressful or traumatic life events and more rapid breast cancer progression.

METHOD:

Retrospective reports of past experiences of traumatic life events were assessed among 94 women with metastatic or recurrent breast cancer. A traumatic event assessment was conducted using the event-screening question from the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) module of the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV-TR (SCID; 2002). Each reported event was judged by two independent raters to determine whether it met DSM-IV-TR PTSD A1 criteria for a traumatic event. Those events that did not meet such criteria were designated "stressful events."

RESULTS:

Nearly 42% of the women in the sample were judged to have experienced one or more traumatic events; 28.7% reported only stressful events. A Kruskal-Wallis test found significant differences in disease-free interval among the three groups [chi2 (2, N=94)=6.09, P<.05]. Planned comparisons revealed a significantly longer disease-free interval among women who had reported no traumatic or stressful life events (median=62 months) compared to those who had experienced one or more stressful or traumatic life events (combined median=31 months).

CONCLUSIONS:

A history of stressful or traumatic life events may reduce host resistance to tumor growth. These findings are consistent with a possible long-lasting effect of previous life stress on stress response systems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

PMID:
17719359
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2094358
Free PMC Article
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