Feeling depressed and fatigued does not increase a persons risk for cancer, according to a new study. Severely exhausted people, however, do engage in behavior that is associated with a higher cancer risk. The study, published in the September 15, 2005 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, is the first prospective study using the "vital exhaustion" questionnaire to investigate this link.
The concept of vital exhaustion – described as feelings of excessive fatigue and lack of energy, increased irritability and a feeling of demoralization – grew out of the field of cardiology. Studies have identified vital exhaustion as a risk factor for heart attacks and death from a heart attack.
Depressive mood has also been widely blamed, at least in lay literature, as a risk factor for cancer. However, the scientific data is much more inconsistent than that for heart attacks. Two recent prospective studies failed to identify a link between depression and cancer.
David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
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