Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Depression, anxiety or other psychological disorder makes it more likely a cervical cancer patient will die, new research shows.
Patients with cervical cancer and stress disorder had a 55 percent higher risk of dying from the disease than those without a disorder, according to a study published Thursday in Cancer Research.
"Patients receiving a cancer diagnosis are at increased risk of several stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and stress-reaction and adjustment disorders," Donghao Lu, a researcher at Karolinska Institute and study author, said in a news release. "Emerging evidence from both experimental and epidemiological studies indicates that psychological distress might affect the progression of many cancer types."
The study included 4,245 women with cervical cancer who received diagnoses in Sweden between Jan. 1, 2002 and Dec. 31, 2011. The researchers analyzed hospital data for that indicated whether the patients were diagnosed for disorders for anxiety, adjustment disorders and stress-reaction, and depression.
The researchers also looked for events that occurred in the lives of patients that could trigger stress, like divorce, job loss or a death in the family.
A follow-up revealed nearly 1,400 patients had died, including 1,005 due to cervical cancer.
Patients diagnosed with a stress disorder or a stressful life event had a 33 percent higher risk of dying of cervical cancer. Those who faced a stressful life event had a 20 percent of dying from the disease.
The researchers also found nearly 1,800 of the patients had stress disorders or stressful events in their lives.
The researchers point out that their study did not establish a causal link between cervical cancer and stress, but past studies have shown that emotional burdens can have an effect on cancer progression.
"Our findings support that oncologists or gynecologists perform active evaluation of psychiatric status on return visits to see how patients with cervical cancer are doing, not only somatically, but also mentally," said Karin Sundström, a project coordinator at the Karolinska Institute and study author.