London : As per a recent research men, who suffer from severe anxiety are twice more likely to die from cancer than men, who stay calm and relaxed.
However, women with the mental health condition were at no greater risk, reports Daily Mail.
Researchers suggest that anxious men may be more likely to ‘self-medicate’ their anxiety by drinking and smoking more than women and both factors increase the likelihood of getting cancer.
Women are also quicker at going to the doctor, allowing the cancer to be detected earlier, making it easier to treat.
A study of 15,938 people looked at those, who had also been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder.
The disorder is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry about many areas of life.
Symptoms can include muscle tension, insomnia, an inability to concentrate and restlessness. A total of 126 men (1.8 percent in the study) and 215 women (2.4 percent) were found to have the disorder.
Over a 15 year follow-up period, they found the men with GAD were twice more likely to die of cancer than men who were not affected by anxiety.
There was no greater likelihood for anxious women to die of cancer.
Researcher Olivia Remes said, “In the past there have been inconclusive studies of the relationship between cancer and anxiety. However our study is the largest one to look at this relationship. We found that men with generalised anxiety disorder are over twice as likely to die of cancer as men without this condition.”
Adding, “This holds true even after taking account of a range of additional factors, such as age, major chronic diseases, serious mental illnesses, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, and medications.”
“Women did not show this association between anxiety and cancer. The work shows that anxiety is associated with cancer deaths in men,” she added.
It is possible that men with anxiety have lifestyles or other risk factors that increase cancer risk that are not accounted for completely, however, this association does raise questions, and society may need to consider anxiety as a warning signal for poor health.
She continued “Researchers, policy makers and clinicians don’t give enough importance to anxiety, and this needs to change. A large number of people are affected by anxiety and its potential effects on health are substantial.”
The study also shows that anxiety is more than just a personality trait, it is a disorder that may be associated with risk of death from conditions such as cancer.
The research was presented at the European College of Neuro psycho pharmacology Congress in Vienna.