(HealthDay News) — Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer, especially among premenopausal women, according to a study published online Sept. 5 in Cancer Research.

Andrea L. Roberts, M.P.H., Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used data from the Nurses’ Health Study II conducted from 1989 to 2015 with 54,710 individuals to examine whether PTSD is associated with the risk for ovarian cancer. The risk for ovarian cancer was estimated and further adjusted for known ovarian cancer risk factors and health risk factors.

The researchers identified 110 ovarian cancers during follow-up. Compared with women with no trauma exposure, women with high PTSD symptoms had a twofold greater risk for ovarian cancer (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 2.10; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.12 to 3.95). The correlation was modestly attenuated after adjustment for health and ovarian cancer risk factors (hazard ratio, 1.86; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 3.51). Similar or moderately stronger associations were seen in fully prospective analyses (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 2.38; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 5.76) and in premenopausal women (hazard ratio, 3.42; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.08 to 10.85).

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“Better understanding of biological pathways could lead to interventions to reduce risk of ovarian cancer in women with PTSD and, potentially, other distress-related disorders,” the authors write.

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