Study finds no connection between work stress and cancer

Stockholm – Work-related stress may not be linked to colorectal, lung, breast or prostate cancer, finds a new study from the IPD-Work Consortium, a project created to examine the link between work factors and health using data from 17 European cohort studies.

Researchers analyzed 12 studies involving more than 116,000 people between 17 and 70 years old who lived throughout Europe. They categorized stress by levels of job strain, which is a type of stress associated with high-demand, low-control jobs. A total of 5,765 participants – 5 percent – developed cancer within the 12-year follow-up, and researchers found no evidence that job strain increased the risk of cancer.

The conclusion conflicts with other studies that have suggested an association between stress and certain cancers. Researchers speculated that previous studies that found an association between cancer and stress may have been chance findings, or the cancer was linked to an underlying factor, such as shift work, according to a press release from British Medical Journal.

The study was published online Feb. 7 in the journal BMJ.

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