An association between chronic life stressors prior to diagnosis of breast cancer

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Nathália de Sousa-Pereira
Mayara Bocchi
Caroline Yukari Motoori-Fernandes
Bruna Karina Banin-Hirata
Luiz Gustavo Piccoli de Melo
Karen Brajão de Oliveira
Glauco Akelington Freire Vitiello
Carlos Eduardo Coral de Oliveira
Clodoaldo Zago Campos
Marla Karine Amarante
Maria Angelica Ehara Watanabe


The clinical course of breast cancer (BC) and survival depend on a wide range of risk factors. From the psychosomatic point of view, BC is one of the most studied type of cancer but there is no evidence available for this relation. Therefore, in the present study we evaluate the impact of chronic life stressors in BC patients. A total of 100 BC patients were invited to participate in an interview, when information about social parameters and emotional changes in the period prior to diagnosis were collected. The emotional changes were evaluated by the Holmes and Rahe's Stress Scale, which analyzes the difficulty required for a person to readjust to society after significant changes in their life. Clinicopathological parameters were obtained from the medical records. For all data, the level of significance adopted was p <0.05. It was observed that 55.2 % of the patients have a medium and 13.8 % were at high risk for disease development related to stressful events in the period prior to the BC diagnosis. The highest stress levels were presented by separated, divorced, or widowed patients compared to married (p <0.01) and single (p = 0.037) patients. The high-risk (HR) group had a lower proportion of positivity for estrogen receptor when compared to the low (LR) and moderate risk (MR) groups (p= 0.001). In addition, a binary logistic regression analysis was performed, and we found that the relationship between the estrogen receptor and the HR of chronic stress was independently associated with the histological type of BC and lymph nodes involvement. The relationship of stressful life experiences and BC is not well established, so our study collaborates with the literature to demonstrate the importance of stress as a factor associated with the development of BC.

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How to Cite
de Sousa-Pereira, N., Bocchi, M., Motoori-Fernandes, C. Y., Banin-Hirata, B. K., Piccoli de Melo, L. G., Brajão de Oliveira, K., Freire Vitiello, G. A., Coral de Oliveira, C. E., Zago Campos, C., Amarante, M. K., & Ehara Watanabe, M. A. (2021). An association between chronic life stressors prior to diagnosis of breast cancer. EXCLI Journal, 20, 1370-1378.
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