Chronic stress increases risk of cancer death, study finds

Augusta-based Medical College of Georgia researchers found chronic stress increases the risk of cancer death by 14 percent.

The analysis, published in SSM-Population Health, compared data from 1988 to 2010 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to the National Death Index through 2019. The researchers compared the allostatic load — a biologic measure of chronic stress — in patients with cancer.

The analysis found the following:

  • High allostatic load was associated with 14 percent increased risk of cancer death in all participants.

  • Non-Hispanic white adults had an increased risk of 18 percent.

  • High allostatic load in people younger than 40 increased cancer death risk by more than 80 percent.

  • Minorities had higher counts of allostatic load and risk of cancer death.

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