A new study has found that women with low levels of an anti-stress hormone have an increased risk of getting breast cancer.
According to Olle Melander, professor at Lund University, Sweden, “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.”
For the study, blood samples were collected from more than 1,900 women with the average age being 57, and were followed up for an average of 15 years in regard to breast cancer results. Researchers feel that factors like age and geographical location may be significant in the results and more studies will help in early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
Women who were found at a higher risk may benefit from certain lifestyle changes that will help reduce stress and prevent the onset of breast cancer.
Mattias Belting, co-author of the study and professor at Lund University, Sweden, added, “Our immediate plan is to investigate how to affect the level of encephalin in healthy individuals. We will do this primarily in a study with a smaller number of women. We are also interested in the hormone’s role in other cancers.”
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology
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