PTSD not linked with increase cancer risk

PTSD not linked with increase cancer riskResearchers from Boston University School of Medicine completed the largest study to date to determine an increased risk of cancer among those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and concluded having PTSD does not increase cancer risk.

PTSD United reports that at any given time 24 million Americans have PTSD. PTSD is a condition brought on by severe trauma. It’s reported that nearly 70 percent of the U.S. population experiences trauma and around 20 percent of those individuals will go on to develop PTSD. PTSD is often associated with soldiers and individuals who go off to war, but women are twice as likely to develop PTSD in comparison to men.


Previous research has also confirmed no link between stressful events and cancer risk. Although many theories make a strong case that extra stress can increase cancer risk, results have shown mixed outcomes.

By comparing diagnoses of cancer among individuals with PTSD and the rate of cancer among the general population, the researchers did not find a link.

Corresponding author Jaimie L. Gradus said, “The general public may have a perception that stress contributes to cancer occurrence and given the ubiquity of PTSD and cancer and their costs to individuals and society, any observed associations could have meaningful public health implications.”

The size of the study, and the time period, allowed researchers to examine factors not previously looked at which further solidified their findings.


The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.6 million new cancer cases in 2015. The most common cancers are breast, lung, prostate and colon. Worldwide, cancer is the leading cause of death and the majority of cancer cases come from Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

The latest study was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.