Think positive: fight breast cancer

Happy women less likely to develop breast cancer

Happy women are less likely to develop breast cancer, a new study claims.

Scientists in Israel have discovered that those of us with a positive outlook on life are 25% less likely to develop breast cancer during our lives.

However, while individuals with a sunny disposition were seen as less likely to suffer from breast cancer, the poll of more than 250 women also discovered that whose lives had already been afflicted by stress – and specifically two or more traumatic events – were more likely to develop the disease.

Writing for the BMC Cancer journal, the researchers explain: ‘It was found that a feeling of happiness and optimism has a “protective effect”.’

They were, however, careful to point out that interviewing women about their past, especially if they had since had to cope with breast cancer, may have had an affect on how they remember certain events.

Still, they surmise: ‘We can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women.

‘On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role.’

British organisations, on the other hand, aren’t convinced.

‘There is no clear evidence that positive or negative experiences can affect breast cancer risk,’ Dr Sarah Cant, of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, tells the Daily Mail.

‘Women in this study were interviewed after breast cancer was diagnosed when they may be more likely to recall feeling depression and anxiety.

‘The researchers also didn’t account for other factors known to affect breast cancer risk such as family history or weight.

‘Breast cancer is a complex disease and there is unlikely to be one single cause.’

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