Depression Does Not Increase Cancer Risk

depression young woman depressed sad lonely

Does psychological depression increase your risk of getting cancer? We have long-suspected a link, but there is no good study to either confirm or reject this hypothesis. That is, until now.

The Study: The INSERM’s Mixed Research Unit 1018 “Epidemiology and Population Health Research Centre,” AP-HP, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin monitored 14203 people between 1994 and 2009, including 1119 who developed cancer. All of the absences from work for depression (certified by doctors) were recorded as well as many questionnaires measuring depressive moods. Five major types of cancer were monitored, including prostate, breast, colon, cancer associated with smoking, and cancer of the lymph nodes or blood (leukemias). THe mean (average) follow-up was 15.2 years.

The Results: Depression does not appear to increase the risk of getting cancer. Of course, a cancer diagnosis can cause symptoms of depression, so let your care team know if you feel down!

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes. Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: C. Lemognem S,N, Consoli, M. Melchior et al. Depression and the Risk of Cancer: A 15-year Follow-up Study of the GAZEL Cohort. Am J of Epidemiology 2013.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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