Work-related stress does not increase the risk of most common cancers

The joint European individual-participant data meta-analysis of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) and University College London (UCL) shows that work-related stress does not cause the most common cancers. A previous study of this subject has given inconsistent results. These new results were published in the British Medical Journal at the beginning of February 2013. The study followed 116, 000 people for an average of twelve years. During this time, five percent of these people developed some form of cancer. However, no association was found between work stress and the risk of the most common forms of cancer, i.e. colorectal, lung, breast or prostate cancers. "It seems that work stress is not a significant risk factor for cancer. Although decreasing work stress would undoubtedly improve the well-being of the working population, it would most probably not have an effect on the emergence of cancer on a population level," says Katriina Heikkilä, Specialist Research Scientist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH).

Source : Work stress and risk of cancer: meta-analysis of 5700 incident cancer events in 116 000 European men and women, BMJ 2013; 346

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