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Health & Medicine One in Four Breast Cancer Patients Experience PTSD: Study

One in Four Breast Cancer Patients Experience PTSD: Study

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First Posted: Mar 02, 2013 03:35 PM EST
Fertility Drug Posses Risk of Breast Cancer
The researchers from the National Institute of Health have revealed that Ovulation-Stimulating Fertility drugs temporarily elevates estrogen levels which trigger breast cancer. (Photo : Reuters)

Receiving shocking health news is enough to catch anyone off guard and even traumatized. A new study showed that nearly 25 percent of all women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) soon after hearing the news.

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PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur when a person has experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event. It is most typical in war veterans who are subdued to extreme violence and have a hard time returning to civilian life.

In the study published online by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), 1,139 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, Stages I to III, and were evaluated to see if there was any form of PTSD after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study recruited from medical facilities in New York City, Detroit, and Northern California and was done via phone interviews in three parts after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

"During the first two to three months after diagnosis, nearly a quarter of them met the criteria for PTSD, although the symptoms declined over the next three months. Younger women were more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD, and data suggest Asian and black women are at a more than 50 percent higher risk than white women," said Alfred I. Neugut, M.D., Ph.D.

In closing, Neugt added: "If we can identify potential risk factors for PTSD, when women are diagnosed with breast cancer, we could provide early prevention and intervention to minimize PTSD symptoms. This approach might also have an indirect impact on the observed racial disparity in breast cancer survival."

The research team notes that this study could apply to other forms of cancer, noting that PTSD symptoms have been reported in patients diagnosed withprostate and lymphoma.

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