Stress increases Breast Cancer risk.
Anti-stress hormone may provide indication of breast cancer risk
Lund University News, 07/16/2015
A new study from Lund University in Sweden shows that women with low levels of an anti–stress hormone have an increased risk of getting breast cancer. The study is the first of its kind on humans and confirms previous similar observations from animal experiments. The recent findings on a potential new marker for the risk of developing breast cancer are presented in the renowned Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study focused on a hormone which circulates freely in the blood, enkephalin, with pain– and anxiety–reducing properties. Enkephalin also reinforces the immune system by directly affecting immune cells. “This is the first time the role of enkephalin in breast cancer has been studied in humans, and the results were surprisingly clear. Among women with the lowest levels of the hormone, the risk of breast cancer was more than three times that of the women with the highest levels of the hormone. This is one of the strongest correlations between cancer risk and a freely circulating biomarker ever described”, said Olle Melander and Mattias Belting, both professors at Lund University and consultant physicians at Skane University Hospital.