According to a new study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in Boston, Massachusetts, have found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not a risk factor for developing cancer.
For the study, researchers included all Danish-born residents of Denmark from 1995 to 2011. During that time, PTSD was diagnosed in 4,131 people.
Researchers included all malignant neoplasms, hematologic malignancies, immune-related cancers, smoking- and alcohol-related cancers, and cancers at all other sites as main outcomes. Results showed that there were no associations between PTSD and nearly all cancer diagnoses examined.
These results are consistent with other population-based studies that found no link between stressful life events and cancer incidence.
"The general public may have a perception that stress contributes to cancer occurrence and given the ubiquity of PTSD and cancer and their costs to individuals and society, any observed associations could have meaningful public health implications," corresponding author Jaimie L. Gradus, DSc, MPH, an assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at BUSM and an epidemiologist at the National Center for PTSD, said in a statement.
"This study, however, provided no evidence that a severe chronic stress disorder such as PTSD is associated with cancer incidence."
The study is the largest study to date evaluating PTSD as a predictor of various cancer types. The large sample size and long study duration allowed researchers to examine associations that had previously not been analyzed.
In the largest study to date that examines post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a risk factor for cancer, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, have shown no evidence of an association.
The study, which appears in the European Journal of Epidemiology, is consistent with other population-based studies that report stressful life events generally are not associated with cancer incidence. In addition to corroborating results of other studies, this large population sample allowed for important stratified analyses that showed no strong evidence of associations even among select groups of the population.