Anxious men 'twice as likely to die from cancer'
'Clinicians don't give enough importance to anxiety,' says lead
Men who suffer from severe anxiety are more than twice as likely to
die from cancer as men who do not, a major new study has found.
Yet researchers discovered no such association between anxiety and
cancer in women.
Scientists have called on politicians and doctors to stop treating
anxiety as a "personality trait" and start associating it with lethal
diseases - such as cancer.
The study focused on general anxiety disorder (GAD), a common mental
health condition characterised by uncontrollable worry, insomnia and
restlessness that can be debilitating.
While the investigation could not prove that anxiety causes cancer,
experts have speculated that stress weakens the immune system.
There is not yet as explanation of why the association was not found
Researchers for the large British and European project analysed
medical data from nearly 16,000 participants spanning 15 years and
cross-matched it with death records.
They found that of the 7139 men surveyed, 126 of them had GAD. Over
the 15-year period they found men with GAD were twice as likely to die
of cancer than those who did not have anxiety.
However this association was not found in the 214 women who had GAD.
Lead researcher Olivia Remes from Cambridge University, said the
project demonstrated people needed to think about mental health issues
in a different way.
"Society may need to consider anxiety as a warning signal for poor
"Researchers, policy-makers and clinicians don't give enough
importance to anxiety, and this needs to change.
"A large number of people are affected by anxiety and its potential
effects on health are substantial.
"With this study, we show that anxiety is more than just a
personality trait, but rather, it is a disorder that may be associated
with risk of death from conditions, such as, cancer."
- The Independent