Men who suffer from severe anxiety are more than twice as likely to die from cancer as men who do not, a new study has found.
Yet, researchers discovered no such association between anxiety and cancer in women. Scientists have called on doctors to stop treating anxiety as a “personality trait“ and start associating it with lethal diseases, such as cancer.
The study focused on general anxiety disorder (GAD), a common mental condition characterised by uncontrollable worry , insomnia and restlessness.While the investigation could not prove that anxiety causes cancer, experts have speculated that stress weakens the immune system.
They found that of the 7,139 men surveyed, 126 of them had GAD. Over the 15year period they found men with GAD were twice as likely to die of cancer than those who did not have anxiety .However, this association was not found in the 214 women who had GAD.
Society may need to consider anxiety as a warning signal for poor health. Researchers, policy-makers and clinicians don’t give enough importance to anxiety , and this needs to change.
The intense distress that these people suffer often on a daily basis is usually associated with a great deal of bodily stress, that is bound to have a major impact on many physiological processes, including immune supervision of cancerous cells.Much more information and investment need to be given to the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders.
NOTE: The write up has been partly edited