Health & wellbeing

Although everyone should try to offset work-related stress with relaxing activities, there has been no evidence of a correlation between tumors and stress.A recent study published in the British Medical Journal analysed the possible correlation between job strain and risk of cancer.

Are work-related stress and pressure factors that may cause or increase the chances of getting a tumor? An analysis published in the British Medical Journal investigated whether work-related stress is associated with the overall risk of cancer.

A team, that included researchers from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Työterveyslaitos) and University College London, conducted a meta-analysis compiled from 12 European studies, with a sample of more than 116,000 men and women aged 17-70 in Finland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and United Kingdom.

The participants, all cancer-free when the study started, were studied for 12 years. The level of psychological stress was calculated using job strain – work-related stress – and analysed with parameters like age, sex, socio-economic position and consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Of the total number of people under observation, around 5 per cent was diagnosed with cancer. Even so, no relation between stress and risk of tumor was found.

Cardiac and gastroenteric – pertaining to stomach and intestines – problems, chronic fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches and fibromyalgia – widespread muscle pain and joint stiffness – are the most common health issues caused by stress.

“Even though it may sound easy to become ill, the reality is a bit different,” says Katriina Heikkilä, a member of the research team. “Going through a difficult time or being nervous a lot isn’t usually enough to get sick. It’s more a mix of genetic predispositions and other factors like obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, high cholesterol, diabetes and high pressure,” she adds.



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