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Breast Cancer Diagnosis and PTSD Connection

March 11th, 2013 by Deb Wilson

Breast Cancer AwarenessA diagnosis of breast cancer is being link, in one study, with onset of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A study by researchers at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, has found that nearly one in four women (23 percent) newly diagnosed with breast cancer reported symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shortly after diagnosis, with increased risk among black and Asian women. …

“We analyzed interview responses from more than 1,100 women,” said Dr. Neugut [Alfred I. Neugut, MD, PhD, the Myron M. Studner Professor of Cancer Research, professor of medicine and epidemiology, at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health, and a member of the HICCC]. “During the first two to three months after diagnosis, nearly a quarter of them met the criteria for PTSD, although the symptoms declined over the next three months. Younger women were more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD, and data suggest Asian and black women are at a more than 50 percent higher risk than white women.” 

PTSD A Problem For Nearly 1 In 4 Women Newly Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

The researchers are hoping that awareness of the potential correlation will lead to “early prevention and intervention to minimize PTSD symptoms” in breast cancer patients, as well as other cancers (such as prostate and lymphoma) where similar research has suggested the possibility for PTSD when a diagnosis occurs.

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