Jan. 30, 2008 Personality traits do not appear to be associated with breast cancer risk.
Previous studies have linked personality traits with cancer risk. In 1996, Eveline Bleiker, Ph.D., of The Netherlands Cancer Institute and colleagues found a weak association between the development of breast cancer and antiemotionality--a lack of emotional behavior or trust in one's own feelings. No other personality traits were associated with breast cancer risk in this study.
The researchers conducted a follow-up study with the same group of about 9,700 women who had previously completed a survey that assessed personality traits such as anxiety, anger, antiemotionality, optimism, understanding, and emotional expression. In addition to looking at individual personality traits, the researchers examined how interactions between personality traits influenced breast cancer risk.
Of the women who completed the questionnaire, 217 were diagnosed with breast cancer during the 5- to 13-year follow-up. The researchers did not find any personality trait or personality profile that was associated with increased breast cancer risk.
"We could not confirm our previously reported association between antiemotionality and breast cancer. Our finding that no psychological risk profile was associated with the incidence of breast cancer may help oncologists to reassure patients that their personality appears to have played no role in the development of their breast cancer," the authors write.
This research was recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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