Anxiety and depression are two mental conditions that often go hand in hand. Although their symptoms and characteristics differ, they can cause equal amount of damage to a person’s mental health. Both conditions have been linked with cardiovascular disease earlier, but now, a study has found that higher levels of psychological distress such as anxiety and depression may be associated with an increased risk of death from certain cancers as well. The results show that compared with people in the least distressed group, death rates in the most distressed group were consistently higher for cancer of the bowel, prostate, pancreas, oesophagus and for leukaemia. Researchers from University College London and University of Edinburgh in the UK set out to examine if psychological distress is a potential predictor of site specific cancer mortality. They analysed data from 16 studies which started between 1994 and 2008. In total, 163,363 men and women aged 16 or over and free from cancer at the start of the study, were included. Psychological distress scores were measured using the general health questionnaire and participants were monitored for an average of nine and a half years. During this time, there were 4,353 deaths from cancer. Several factors that could have influenced the results were taken into account, including age, sex, education, socioeconomic status, BMI, smoking and alcohol intake.

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