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Psychosocial Factors 

Psychosocial Factors
Psychosocial Factors
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)

Christoffer Johansen


This chapter covers the area of mind and cancer. It has been speculated that stress in the form of major life events or workplace stress, a diagnosis of clinical depression, or specific personality traits increased the risk for cancer. Not until recently has this discipline considered classic methodological aspects of cause and effect. Earlier studies assumed that the “mind factor” was independent of somatic aspects and that disease severity or comorbidity and environmental as well as sociodemographic factors did not play a role in this hypothetical association. Evaluation of causation in cancer follows certain rules, which are presented. Using this terminology, it is concluded that psychosocial factors such as stress, depression, and personality traits do not appear to play a major role in cancer causation. The mind is not an independent risk factor but may work through lifestyle factors, thereby increasing the risk for certain cancers associated with lifestyle.

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