Work-related stress is the bane of every employer and employee. But although it produces so many negative physical and emotional reactions, it is not the main cause of cancer, reports.

The study, led by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College in London, analyzed data on 116,000 participants from ages 17 to 70, hailing from different parts of Europe including Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK. A follow up was held after 12 years.

From the results, researchers ranked psychological stress into four categories of job strain: high-strain job (high demands and low control), active job (high demands and high control), passive job (low demands and low control), and low-strain job (low demands and high control). In addition to this, cancer events recorded by death registries and hospitals were factored in, with the rates adjusted for physical and economic dispositions.

A total of 5,765 volunteers (five percent of the 116,000 participants) were found to have developed some form of cancer within the 12-year follow up period. No solid link to work-related stress was ever found. The cases of stress-cancer relationship were so few that they were attributed to chance findings or a new and unmeasured factor like working with a shifting schedule (a major cause for work-related stress).

The researchers concluded that there is no evidence of a correlation between stress and cancer. Most types of cancer are caused by unhealthy environmental factors, like pollution and tobacco smoke, and not just by psychological factors alone. However, how we cope with stress--overeating, smoking, alcoholism--can increase the risk of cancer. Check out our articles on de-stressing to find out how you can relax after a long day.

(Screencap from
Mad Men courtesy of AMC)

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