A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that loneliness in middle-aged men is associated with an increased risk of cancer. Considering loneliness and social relationships should therefore be an important part of comprehensive health care and disease prevention, according to the researchers. The results were published in Research in psychiatry.
“It has been estimated, based on studies conducted in recent years, that loneliness could be as significant a health risk as smoking or being overweight. Our results support the idea that attention needs to be paid to this. problem, ”says Liisi Kraav of the University of Eastern Finland.
The study was started in the 1980s with the participation of 2,570 middle-aged men from eastern Finland. Their state of health and mortality have been monitored on the basis of data from the register up to the present day. During follow-up, 649 men, or 25% of participants, developed cancer and 283 men (11%) died of cancer. Loneliness increased the risk of cancer by about 10%. This association with cancer risk has been observed regardless of age, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, quality of sleep, symptoms of depression, body mass index, heart disease, and their symptoms. risk factors. In addition, cancer mortality was higher in cancer patients who were initially single, widowed or divorced.
“Awareness of the effects of loneliness on health is constantly increasing. Therefore, it is important to examine in more detail the mechanisms by which loneliness adversely affects health. This information would allow us to better mitigate loneliness and the damage it causes, as well as find optimal ways to target preventive measures. “
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