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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Harvard: PTSD Linked to Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Women who experienced six or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in life had a twofold greater risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never had any PTSD symptoms, according to a new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Moffitt Cancer Center.

The findings indicate that having higher levels of PTSD symptoms, such as being easily startled by ordinary noises or avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience, can be associated with increased risks of ovarian cancer even decades after women experience a traumatic event. The study also found that the link between PTSD and ovarian cancer remained for the most aggressive forms of ovarian cancer.

The study was published in Cancer Research, on September 5.

“In light of these findings, we need to understand whether successful treatment of PTSD would reduce this risk, and whether other types of stress are also risk factors for ovarian cancer,” said co-author Dr. Andrea Roberts, research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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