Be happy! – Here’s a new reason to be happy: Women who have a positive outlook on life are less likely to get breast cancer.

Getting divorced, or having a loved one die, increases your risk. BBC News quotes researcher Ronit Peled as saying, “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.”

He and his team interviewed over 250 women with breast cancer and compared their answers in a questionnaire on mental outlook and life events with over 360 healthy control subjects. We know that breast cancer is largely caused by a genetic predilection, which is triggered by environmental factors (like unhappiness?), so we unless both the happy and unhappy women who were studied had DNA that contained this gene, the study doesn’t tell us much.

Not everyone agrees with Peled’s conclusion. BBC News quotes cancer researcher Sarah Cant as saying, “Emotional stress is highly subjective and is difficult to measure accurately. Women in this study were interviewed after breast cancer was diagnosed when they may be more likely to recall feeling depression and anxiety. The researchers also didn’t account for other factors known to affect breast cancer risk such as family history or weight. Breast cancer is a complex disease and there is unlikely to be one single cause.”

We know that sickness can be an gift, but it’s still not a present that you want to receive!

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