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Monday, August 30, 2010

Loneliness and Cancer Risks

“Lonely women could be at greater risk of breast cancer,” the Daily Mail reported. It said that scientists have found that the stress and anxiety caused by social isolation can speed up the growth of cancers.

The news story is based on a laboratory study in genetically engineered mice and the results cannot be directly applied to humans. Although animal studies can be valuable for gaining a general understanding of how diseases develop, humans have a very different biology from mice. These findings cannot be interpreted to mean that being sociable protects you against breast cancer or any other cancer, or that being unsociable raises your risk, or gives you a worse prognosis or outlook.

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