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Oncol Nurs Forum. 1996 Apr;23(3):441-8.

The relationship between stress and the development of breast cancer: a literature review.

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1
Clinical Center Nursing Department, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To review literature that explores the relationship between stress and the development of breast cancer and investigates the immune system as a possible mediator. Personality traits, response to stress, and stressful life events are considered.

DATA SOURCES:

Published articles, book chapters, books, and workbooks from nursing and medical literature.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Studies show that a relationship exists between stress and the development of breast cancer. Most of the literature describes this relationship according to the patient's personality traits, her response to stress, or the occurrence of stressful life events. The immune system may mediate the physiologic influence of stress on breast cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the difficulty of measuring stress makes it difficult to demonstrate a tangible relationship between stress and breast cancer, studies reveal that stress is related to breast cancer in various ways. Dealing positively with stress may improve the quality of life of patients with breast cancer.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE:

Nurses must understand the ubiquitous nature of stress and its relationship to breast cancer. Although they may not be able to prevent stress, patients can learn techniques (e.g., stress management, social support, communication, laughing and crying) to deal with it positively.

PMID:
8801505
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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