(HealthDay News) — A clinical diagnosis of stress-related disorders or an occurrence of stressful life events around the time of cervical cancer diagnosis is associated with an increased risk for cancer-specific mortality, according to a study published in the August issue of Cancer Research.

Donghao Lu, M.D., Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues conducted a nationwide cohort study involving 4,245 patients with newly diagnosed cervical cancer during 2002 to 2011 in Sweden. The authors examined the impact of psychologic distress (stress-related disorders or stressful life events) around the time of diagnosis on cancer-specific mortality.

The researchers found that compared with unexposed patients, patients exposed to psychologic distress had an increased risk for cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratio, 1.33; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.14 to 1.54). Distress experienced one year before or after diagnosis (hazard ratio, 1.30; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.11 to 1.52) was the main driver of the association, while stress thereafter did not drive the correlation (hazard ratio, 1.12; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.84 to 1.49).

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“Our findings support that oncologists or gynecologists perform active evaluation of psychiatric status on return visits to see how patients with cervical cancer are doing, not only somatically, but also mentally,” a coauthor said in a statement. “If confirmed in other populations and countries, psychological screening and intervention may be considered as an integral component in cervical cancer care.”

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