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Your Soul-Sucking, Stress-Filled Job Might Cause Cancer

Stress too much on the job and a burned-out brain might not be the only result: Men under stress at work may be more likely to develop certain cancers, new research published in the journal Preventive Medicine suggests.

Scientists studied 3,103 men who had been diagnosed with cancer, and 512 healthy guys as controls. They discovered that those who reported long-term exposure to work stress were more likely to be diagnosed with cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, and stomach—as well as with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—than those without stressful working conditions.

Importantly, these links were evident in men with prolonged exposure to work stress—at least 15 to 30 years of toiling away in tense conditions. There was no association with increased cancer risk for guys who worked in stressful environments for less than 15 years.

In the study, the most stressful jobs included firefighter, industrial engineer, aerospace engineer, mechanic foreman, and vehicle and railway-equipment repair worker, says But it’s important to note that the work stress came from a variety of sources, showing that lots of kinds of jobs could be a risk. The participants listed high demand and time pressure, money issues, job insecurity, and hazardous work conditions as sources of on-the-job stress.

Still, the researchers can’t be sure whether the stress actually caused the cancer. It’s possible that guys who were diagnosed with cancer were more likely to over-report stressful work conditions after the fact.

But the study does raise some important questions—and tamping down your stress is never a bad thing. Here are 6 easy ways to beat job stress to get you started.

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Dr. Shirley

Dr. Shirley

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