Breast Cancer Awareness
It’s October! Pink Ribbons fly proudly reminding women to get a clinical breast exam and mammogram. Board a plane and glance out of the window and you might see pink runway lights glowing brightly! Turn on the television to watch a Sunday afternoon of football, and you will notice referees tossing pink flags – while in between plays, commercials flood the airways encouraging us to give to the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen Foundation in support of efforts to end breast cancer!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we should do what we can to prevent another family from losing a loved one to this deadly disease.
Have you ever stopped to think about the level of stress women have in their lives every day and how stress increases our chances of contracting breast cancer?
In recent years, researchers have focused on the effects of stress. For example, the Fourth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities last fall showed a connection between psychological stress and one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer.
The study was performed on 989 women with breast cancer. Two to three months after diagnosis, the women were asked to rate their degree of anxiety, fear, and isolation. These self-reported stress scores were higher for black and Hispanic women than in white women. Further, those women who reported having higher levels of stress tended to have more aggressive tumors (defined as being negative for the presence of estrogen receptors, meaning that therapies designed to block the effects of estrogen will not be effective) than those with lower stress levels. The association between stress level and aggressive tumors was strongest in black and Hispanic women.