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Br J Cancer. 1985 Apr;51(4):493-8.

Stress and breast cancer.


In order to assess whether exposure to stress was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, 100 women presenting with carcinoma of the breast completed a standard life events inventory documenting life stresses experienced during the previous three years. The same questionnaire was completed by 100 women presenting with benign breast lumps and 100 apparently healthy controls. Both groups of patients with breast disease also completed the Eysenck personality inventory. There was no difference in the number of stressful life events experienced by the patients with benign and malignant breast lesions and the nature and severity of those stresses encountered were similar for both groups. The personality indices were also the same for both groups. The controls, however, recorded significantly higher levels of stress exposure than the patients with breast disease. On the basis of this series, there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that stress predisposes to breast cancer development.

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