Washington: Researchers investigating whether depression is linked to developing a cancer found that there is no significant association between the two.
The results of the study by Cedric Lemogne, a member of the team headed by Marie Zins -INSERM's Mixed Research Unit, did not indicate any significant association between a person experiencing the symptoms of depression during their lifetime and their subsequently contracting cancer.
Zins, who monitored 14,203 people between 1994 and 2009, including 1119 who developed cancer as diagnosed by a doctor.
The INSERM researchers explored the links by conducting the most robust epidemiological study. From this point of view, it was important to have data available, from quite a large cohort that was validated for both the advent of cancer and with respect to depression-causing events.
The set of medical data from the 14,203 people who participated since 1989 in the GAZEL cohort of former employees of EDF-GDF [the gas and electricity companies] was collected between 1994 and 2009.
The advent of depression-causing events was measured from the participants' responses to a specific questionnaire provided every three years over a period of fifteen years and through diagnoses of depression by doctors when the employee was absent from work between 1989 and 1993.
On the basis of all these factors no significant association was found between the advent of depression and the subsequent advent of the five types of cancer monitored in this study (prostate, breast, colon, cancer associated with smoking, and cancer of the lymph glands or haematopoietic cancers). Consequently, being depressed does not expose a person to greater risk of cancer.
On the other hand, researchers reported that the fact of being diagnosed with cancer can cause symptoms of depression.
The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.