Can Loneliness Lead To Cancer? Recent Studies Explore The Possibilities

Cancer is a devastating and often fatal illness. The fact that there has not been conclusive evidence as to what actually causes different types of cancer makes the situation even more worrying. There have been several studies aimed at pinpointing the causes of cancer, and if new research is to be believed, loneliness may be one of them.

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The effect of loneliness on genes

You have probably heard from reliable medical sources that loneliness can manifest in your physical health. But how much does it affect our susceptibility to cancer?

14-Year-Old Boy Recovers From Aggressive Cancer After Doctors Said He Had Hours To Live

Researcher Steven Cole of the University of California, Los Angeles, and some of his colleagues, found that chronic loneliness may actually affect the genetic activity of an individual. The results were based on the outcome after people were tested using the U.C.L.A. Loneliness Scale. This is a self-administered psychiatric questionnaire used to measure emotion.

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Those who scored in the top 15 percent on this scale had an increased gene activity linked to inflammation. They also had reduced gene activity which is associated with the production of antibodies and effective antiviral responses.

During his analysis of over 1023 Taiwanese adults, Cole sought to find out what led to these results. His findings showed that the hormone cortisol was not effective at suppressing the genes that lead to inflammation. Inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for such illnesses as heart disease and cancer.

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In other words, the absence or limited level of cortisol (which is found in lonely people) may lead to cancer.

So, are all lonely people at risk of cancer? Is there a specific range of loneliness one has to reach before it becomes dangerous? Cole and his colleagues are still working on finding more answers.

Another study with a different approach.

An analysis of 70 studies done at Brigham Young University also found that experiencing loneliness can increase an individual’s chances of dying by as much as 26 percent.

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Research teams from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Los Angeles, tried to make sense of these numbers.

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John Cacioppo, who is an expert in loneliness and also a psychologist at the University of Chicago, explained that loneliness is a very toxic state of emotion.

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Can Loneliness Lead To Cancer? Recent Studies Explore The Possibilities

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