We already know from recent studies that depression can be linked to a decreased survival rate in cancer patients. Taking this into consideration alongside fresh evidence suggesting that loneliness makes cancer both more likely and deadly, do our emotions have more of an effect on our health than we ever could have imagined?
The National Academy of Science has been undertaking studies with rodents to see if isolation tips the odds in favour of aggressive cancer growth. Results showed that rodents who were separated developed more tumours and of a more deadly variety than those rats living in a group environment.
Cancer experts have said that more evidence is needed to prove a link and believe that it is possible stressful situations could indirectly affect the risk of cancer by making people more likely to take up unhealthy behaviours that increase cancer risk, such as over eating, heavy drinking and smoking.
Co-researcher Martha McClintock, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, said: “We need to use these findings to identify potential targets for intervention to reduce cancer.”