"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Depression and anxiety don’t increase the danger of cancer

August 11, 2023 – While depression and anxiety are related to a wide range of other health problems, a brand new evaluation shows there isn't a link between the 2 psychiatric disorders and the danger of most serious cancers.

The Results were published this week in Cancerthe journal of the American Cancer Society.

The authors wrote that they conducted the study because depression and anxiety have long been regarded as related to an increased risk of cancer, but previous research on the link had been inconclusive. This latest evaluation combined data from 18 previous studies and included 319,613 people, 25,803 of whom had cancer. Some people were followed for as much as 26 years.

The researchers found no link between depression or anxiety and overall cancer risk, nor did they find any association with breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer or alcohol-related cancers.

They found that depression and anxiety were related to a 6% increased risk of lung cancer or smoking-related cancers, however the researchers concluded that behaviors akin to smoking and alcohol consumption were likely the driving aspects, not depression and anxiety. The authors identified that previous studies had found that folks with depression were more more likely to be smokers.

“Our findings may be a relief for many cancer patients who believe their diagnosis was due to previous anxiety or depression,” said study writer Lonneke A. van Tuijl, PhD, who researches anxiety and mood disorders, in a opinionShe is a postdoctoral fellow on the University Medical Center Groningen within the Netherlands.

“However,” she added, “more research is needed to understand exactly how depression, anxiety, health behaviors and lung cancer are related.”


Cancer: “Depression, anxiety, and cancer risk: A meta-analysis of individual participant data.”

Wiley: “A thorough analysis refutes the theory that depression and anxiety increase cancer risk.”