ToPCaP

Psychological Stress

Psychological Stress

Psychological stress is a powerful determinant of human behavior, physiology and health. Stress has consistently been associated with several adverse health outcomes, including psychiatric disease, obesity and cardiovascular disease while less is known of the influence of psychological stress on cancer initiation, and particularly, progression. Leveraging Icelandic, Swedish and US data on men who develop prostate cancer, we seek to understand whether men with prostate cancer who experience severe mental distress, e.g. anxiety or depression, or have high levels of the stress hormones cortisol have compromised survival compared to men without such severe mental symptoms/hormone levels. We have also studied stress-induced consequences of a cancer diagnosis and found that both US and Swedish men are at considerably increased risk of suicide and cardiovascular death within the first weeks following their prostate cancer diagnosis. Future work is needed to understand how health care interventions may reduce the risk of such adverse outcomes.