News / Health

Stress Linked to Aggressive Breast Cancer

Study finds minority women experience more aggressive tumors, more stress

Patients reporting greater stress were more likely to have more aggressive breast cancer tumors, according to a new study.
Patients reporting greater stress were more likely to have more aggressive breast cancer tumors, according to a new study.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

A new study links aggressive breast cancer and stress. But the lead researcher suggests the findings raise as many questions as they answer.

The study included about 1,000 breast cancer patients in Chicago - white, black and Latina.

Soon after diagnosis, the women were interviewed to assess their level of stress. The researchers, led by Garth H. Rauscher of the University of Illinois at Chicago, compared the stress scores with the race of the patient and the aggressiveness of their cancers.

"Black and Hispanic patients reported greater levels of stress than whites did," Rauscher says. "And we also found that patients reporting greater stress were more likely to have more aggressive tumors."

Previous research had found that American black and Latina women have, at the time they are diagnosed, more aggressive cancers than white women. But researchers can't decide if that's because minority women are somehow more susceptible to aggressive tumors, or because, for socioeconomic reasons, their cancers are more likely not diagnosed until the disease has advanced to a more aggressive stage.

So, is having the aggressive disease causing the stress, or is stress causing the disease? Maybe some third factor is involved.

Rauscher admits he's still a long way from the answer. "And so it's a very complicated issue to tease out what this means, other than to say that it suggests the possibility that there may be a biologic role of stress in the development of breast tumors that warrants further research."

The researchers were only able to do the stress interview after women were diagnosed with breast cancer, so they had to assume that the level of stress faced by the patients was the same before their diagnosis than after. But Rauscher concedes that is a limitation of his study.

"Therefore it's possible - even likely - that the process of diagnosis and the process of being treated influenced what they told us about their level of stress."

Raucher, who presented his study at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, says more research is needed to better understand the relationship between stress and breast cancer. For a lot of reasons, it's probably good to minimize stress in our lives. But he cautions that his research does not mean that people who have had a stressful experience are necessarily at greater risk of aggressive breast cancer.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs