PTSD, Cancer Not Linked in Largest Study to Date
While the potential relationship between stress and cancer has been a topic of discussion and research for over 70 years, no association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cancer was found in the largest study to date and published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
Jaimie L. Gradus, DSc, MPH, from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues designed a nationwide cohort study of all Danish-born residents of Denmark from 1995–2011 using data from the Danish national medical and social registers. The exposure was PTSD diagnoses (n=4,131) and the primary outcomes were all malignant neoplasms, hematologic malignancies, immune-related cancers, smoking- and alcohol-related cancers, and cancers at all other sites.
No association was found between PTSD and cancer diagnoses overall and stratified by gender, age, substance abuse history, and time since PTSD diagnosis. These results are consistent with other population-based studies that found no link between stressful life events and cancer incidence.
The authors note that the large sample size and length of study period allowed them to examine associations that had not been previously evaluated, such as rare cancer outcomes and associations among demographic subgroups.
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