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Breast Cancer Risk Intensified by Loneliness

Photo by bionicteachingLoneliness increases women's risk of breast cancer

Loneliness increases women's risk of breast cancer

Many of my friends of all ages have battled with breast cancer.  Often these woman seek out natural remedies to complement the aggressive western medicine treatments.  From yoga to acupuncture, alternative therapies offer some relief, including helping women take better care of themselves; however, companionship may be just as important.  A new study conducted on rats at the University of Chicago suggests, “Being lonely could more than treble a woman’s odds of developing breast cancer.”

Scientists warn, loneliness is bad for our health, equating it to smoking and obesity.  The Daily Mail reports on the breast cancer study:

The study found that animals living alone were 3.3 times more likely to develop types of breast cancer common in women than those in cages of five.  The tumours were much bigger and more numerous, so that overall, the solitary rats had 84 times more cancerous tissue. The cancer also spread to most parts of the breast, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports. Importantly, the spread of disease seemed to be fuelled by stress hormones, rather than the sex hormones that often drive breast cancer.

The new breast cancer screening recommendations have raised controversy in the medical community. My doctor told me she has found breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50 that would not have been found without mammography.  Given this research on loneliness, perhaps social risk factors should be included in breast cancer prevention.  I also wonder if pet companionship can offset the breast cancer risks in a similar manner as those found in the study.

Companionship is something we often take for granted until it is gone. Whether it is a friendship or romantic relationship, the affects on our health are positive.  The psychological aspect of our health cannot be underestimated.  If you know a woman or man with breast cancer, be sure to stay close and be there for them. It may be the best natural remedy!

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