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Cancer-Related Death Risk Doubles For Men Suffering From Anxiety

Cancer-Related Death Risk Doubles For Men Suffering From Anxiety

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First Posted: Sep 22, 2016 04:22 AM EDT
Anxious man
Men who suffer from anxiety are more than twice as likely to die from cancer as men who don’t. Alon / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Excessive anxiety has been known to cause a number of diseases. A new study revealed that men who suffer from anxiety are two times more at risk of dying from cancer than men who don't. However, anxiety is not related to increased cancer deaths in women.

Medical News Today wrote that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common mental health problem that impedes with a person's normal life which may later lead to increased risk of suicide. The condition affects 5 percent of the adult population and is usually identified by too much and uncontrollable worry about different aspects of life. Symptoms of the condition can be muscle tension, insomnia, inability to concentrate, and restlessness.

Past studies have looked at whether anxiety is connected with early death from major disease; however, there have not been definite findings to prove this. Live Science reported that the researchers analyzed information from over 15,000 people between the ages 40 and 79 in the United Kingdom which were followed over a 15 year period.

Findings showed that men who were diagnosed with GAD were two times more at risk to die from cancer during the study period than men who had not been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Researchers also found no connection between cancer and anxiety in women. Study co-author Olivia Remes, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge said that although more research is needed to confirm the results, the findings caused new questions about the potential health effects of anxiety.

"With this study, we show that anxiety is more than just a personality trait, but rather, it is a disorder that may be associated with risk of death from conditions such as cancer," Remes said in a statement. "Society may need to consider anxiety as a warning signal for poor health."

According to Science Daily, there have been several studies in the past that show the relationship between cancer and anxiety. However, these studies do not have enough evidence to determine if there really is a link between the two. This study is the largest one to look at the relationship. The work shows that anxiety is related to cancer deaths in men. However, it's not possible to say that one can cause the other because it's possible that men with anxiety have lifestyles or other risk factors that elevate cancer risk that has not been accounted for in the study. Thus, the public may want to consider anxiety to be a warning sign of poor health condition.

Meanwhile, researchers, lawmakers, and clinicians don't really give enough attention to anxiety, and it needs to change. A large number of people are affected by anxiety and its potential effects on health are huge. Using this study, researchers show that anxiety is more than just a personality trait, but rather, it is a disorder that may be associated with risk of death from conditions, such as, cancer.

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