Psychosocial factors and cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While limited by methodological considerations, studies in man have tended to confirm the intial observations that a lifelong pattern characterized by reduced emotional expression, relative isolation, and a tendency to depressed mood may be a risk factor for the development of some cancers and that superimposition of demoralizing stressful experiences may precipitate the onset of clinical disease. Definitive findings in this area of research, however, would require controlled large scale prospective studies using the development of specific, pathologically identified cancers as end points. Such studies can be prohibitively complex and expensive. The use of animal models to develop specific psychobiological hypotheses may be a more practical first step in the elucidation of these relationships. Many of the psychosocial factors which have been related to cancer susceptibility can also influence aspects of immune function. Studies involving comprehensive immune assessments as well as concomitant measures of both immunity and tumor growth are required to delineate the nature of these interrelationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in the Biosciences
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


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