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How Negative, Positive Life Events Impact BC Risk

Clin Breast Cancer; ePub 2017 Nov 1; Fischer, et al

Negative life events appear to play a role in risk of breast cancer, according to a case-control study involving >860 individuals. Meanwhile, positive events may attenuate negative event effects. Participants included patients with breast cancer (n=664) and population-based controls (n=203). They completed a risk factor questionnaire that included queries about life events. Among the results:

  • Negative life events were linked with increased breast cancer risk.
  • Patients with ≥4 negative events had a nearly 3-fold increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Having a prior illness increased breast cancer risk by >3-fold.
  • Having an abortion was linked with a 45% decreased risk of breast cancer.
  • While positive life events did not have a significant impact on breast cancer risk, they appeared to buffer the adverse impact of negative events.


Fischer A, Ziogas A, Anton-Culver H. Negative valence life events promote breast cancer development. [Published online ahead of print November 1, 2017]. Clin Breast Cancer. doi:10.1016/j.clbc.2017.10.017.

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