Stress and Breast Cancer



Reuters Health reported late last month on the connection between young women with multiple life event stressors and breast cancer.

Researchers found that women “who had experienced two or more severe or mild-to-moderate life events were 62 percent more likely to have breast cancer.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

What constitutes a stressful life event?

The HOLMES-RAHE LIFE CHANGE SCALE is considered a Stress Test evaluator.

The higher the score, the more likely you are to experience injury or illness.

Death of a spouse

100

Divorce

73

Marital separation

65

Imprisonment

63

Death of a close family member

63

Personal injury or illness

53

Marriage

50

Dismissal from work

47

Marital reconciliation

45

Retirement

45

Change in health of family member

44

Pregnancy

40

Sexual difficulties

39

Gain a new family member

39

Business readjustment

39

Change in financial state

38

Change in frequency of arguments

35

Major mortgage

32

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30

Change in responsibilities at work

29

Child leaving home

29

Trouble with in-laws

29

Outstanding personal achievement

28

Spouse starts or stops work

26

Begin or end school

26

Change in living conditions

25

Revision of personal habits

24

Trouble with boss

23

Change in working hours or conditions

20

Change in residence

20

Change in schools

20

Change in recreation

19

Change in church activities

19

Change in social activities

18

Minor mortgage or loan

17

Change in sleeping habits

16

Change in number of family reunions

15

Change in eating habits

15

Vacation

13

Christmas

12

Minor violation of law

11

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score 150-: Only have a slight risk of illness.

You can also take the test here and have it automatically tally up the number for you.

By becoming aware of your total score you can make changes to prevent stress-related illness such as cancer.

Check out the Battling Stress site here, or the Battling Cancer archives —Laughter Therapy and The Healing Power of Music— on stress for more information on how to deal with life event stress.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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