As per the results of this study, 58.1 percent of women believed that their breast cancer was in some way brought on, or contributed to, by stress. Further, only two percent of the subjects attributed their breast cancer to lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet or alcohol consumption.
Researchers point out that this type of thinking is flawed because as reported by multiple studies – being overweight and excessive alcohol drinking are documented factors that increase the risk of developing the disease.
“While the exact causes of breast cancer are unknown, there is no scientific evidence that points to stress as a cause of breast cancer,” said Dr Christine Bennett, Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation said.
“Reducing stress may be good for general health, but it’s not a way of reducing the risk of breast cancer. By maintaining a healthy weight, maintaining a good diet and taking regular exercise we can all reduce the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancers as well.”
In order to come to their conclusions, researchers studied 1,496 breast cancer survivors. These subjects were asked if they believed that there was any one specific thing that contributed to them developing the disease. Overwhelmingly, stress was the answer they chose.
Co-author of this study, Robin Bell, had this to say on the matter:
“Making lifestyle changes, like starting an exercise program, may have positive benefits,” Associate Professor Bell said.
“But healthcare professionals also need to be wary of patients taking misguided steps in trying to ‘improve’ their health.
“For example, cutting out dairy products may remove some fat from the diet but it could have a negative effect on the bone health of women who, due to some cancer treatments, are already at risk of osteoporosis. If doctors are aware of this guilt they will be in a better position to help women address their feelings and overcome their distress.”
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