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Men’s Health: Long Exposure To Work-Related Stress Increases Risks For Cancer

Update Date: Jan 18, 2017 08:50 AM EST

In previous studies on health, it has been proven that work-related stress can lead to the psychological and physical burden on the body. In the latest on men's health, a study was able to determine that long exposure to work-related stress increases the risks for cancer.

The study, conducted by researchers at INRS and Universite de Montreal, is the first to assess the link between work-related stress and risk of cancer throughout the working life in men. The researchers interviewed 512 population control participants and reviewed 3,103 incident cases of cancer diagnosis from the years 1979 to 1985.

The participants, all male, were asked to describe each job they've held throughout their working lifetime in detail, stress experienced during these jobs, the reason why stress occurs.

Based on the data collected, participants held, on average, four jobs during their lifetime with some holding a dozen or more. According to the researchers, the most stressful jobs included being an industrial engineer, aerospace engineer, vehicle and railway-equipment repair worker, mechanic foreman, and firefighter.

The results of the study found that men who had been exposed to work-related stress for 15 to 30 years have increased risks for five out of 11 types of cancer considered in the study. The five types of cancer are lung cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, stomach cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, men who were exposed to work-related stress for less than fifteen years even if they held stressful jobs were not found to be at risk.

In addition, the researchers also found that sources of stress were just not due to high work load and time constraints. According to the study's participants, a difficult commute, financial problems, job insecurity, interpersonal conflict, responsibilities (work and personal), and challenging or dangerous working conditions were also sources of stress.

The study, published in Preventive Medicine, emphasizes the importance of measuring stress at the different points in an individual's working life. What the study discovered could raise the question whether work-related stress or even chronic psychological stress should be considered as a public health issue.

However, further studies should be conducted to accurately measure stress and take into consideration other sources of stress over a period of time.

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