Having a positive outlook may help prevent breast cancer, while getting divorced or losing a loved one may increase the risk, suggests an Israeli study that compared the mental outlook and life events of 255 breast cancer patients and 367 healthy women.
The researchers found that a generally positive outlook was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, while experiencing one or more traumatic life events -- such as the loss of a parent or spouse -- was associated with a more than 60 percent increased risk, BBC News reported.
Women who've been exposed to a number of negative life events should be considered an "at-risk" group for breast cancer, said lead researcher Dr. Ronit Peled, of Ben-Gurion University.
"We can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe and/or moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role," said Peled, BBC News reported.
The study was published in the journal BMC Cancer.