YOUNG women exposed to tragic events may be at a higher risk of breast cancer and being optimistic can help protect against the disease, a study has found.
A team of researchers say they may have found a link between a women’s outlook on life and the risk of breast cancer.
After questioning more than 600 women – include 255 breast cancer patients – about life experiences, happiness and depression, researchers found optimists were 25 per cent less likely to develop the disease.
Women who suffered two or more traumatic events in their life, such as losing a loved one, had a 62 per cent greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, the research said.
“Young women who were exposed to a number of life events, should be considered as a risk group for breast cancer and treated accordingly,” the researchers said.
“We can carefully say that experiencing more than one meaningful life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women.
“On the other hand, general feelings of happiness and optimism can play a protective role against the disease.”
The researchers, from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of Negev, said the relationship between behaviour and the central nervous, hormonal and immune systems has yet to be fully understood.
Their study was published in British medical journal BMC Cancer .