Stress has a very bad rap and for good reason. It's not enjoyable, adds unnecessary strain to the body and mind, and is also linked to many different ailments. That age-old adage stress kills is actually closer to the truth than some realize. In fact, in a recent study conducted in Montreal, Canada, there was a direct link made between specific types of cancer and work-related stress over the period of a man's working lifetime.
This is not only incredibly concerning but this also gives credence to the inferences that stress doesn't have any positive effects and what's more, has very negative implications. The study found that men who are exposed to prolonged amounts of stress in a work environment have an increased risk of developing colon, lung, rectal and stomach cancers. This study was a real milestone in the medical world because it was the first of its kind to really isolate and study this particular phenomenon that so many have heard about.
Whos At Risk?
The findings found specific markers that link stress to cancers because of the various stresses that men feel and go through over the course of their careers. If an average career is multiple decades, it stands to reason that there would be a very real correlation and connection between how hard they work, long hours, deadlines, and/or financial stresses brought on by factors related to the job. The observable links showed that men who have been exposed to anywhere from 15 to 30 years of work-related stress, and in specific cases even more than that, have increased risk.
Information was also compiled regarding the most stressful professions. Some of the top professions that carry a high amount of stress with them are mechanic foreman, firefighter, railway-equipment repair worker, aerospace engineer, and industrial engineer. It is obvious that each person is different and that their level of experienced stress, coupled with how they handle stress, are also determining factors - as are genetic and biological precursors.
The study also found that the level of stress is not necessarily predicated on time constraints and increased work load. There are various factors that determine specific levels of stress. Work environment, anxious temperament, financial problems, customer service, sales commissions, dangerous work conditions and job insecurity are some of the things that may negatively impact an individuals stress levels.
One of the biggest flaws in previous cancer studies is that none of them assessed work-related stress over a full working lifetime, making it impossible to determine how the duration of exposure to work-related stress affects cancer development, one of the author's of the study explained. Our study shows the importance of measuring stress at different points in an individual's working life.
This makes total sense as so much of life and health do not exist in a vacuum. There are various factors that are often ignored or improperly considred as not applicable when they could be a predominant causing force. The question is now raised whether the chronic psychological stress needs to actually be viewed as a public health issue. With the results of this study as fuel, it's looking more and more likely. Adequately dealing with stress and having necessary and effective coping mechanisms are essential.