Stress, Coping, and Circadian Disruption Among Women Awaiting Breast Cancer Surgery
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- Dedert, E., Lush, E., Chagpar, A. et al. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 10. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9352-y
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Psychological distress and coping related to a breast cancer diagnosis can profoundly affect psychological adjustment, possibly resulting in the disruption of circadian rest/activity and cortisol rhythms, which are prognostic for early mortality in metastatic colorectal and breast cancers, respectively.
This study aims to explore the relationships of cancer-specific distress and avoidant coping with rest/activity and cortisol rhythm disruption in the period between diagnosis and breast cancer surgery.
Fifty-seven presurgical breast cancer patients provided daily self-reports of cancer-specific distress and avoidant coping as well as actigraphic and salivary cortisol data.
Distress and avoidant coping were related to rest/activity rhythm disruption (daytime sedentariness, inconsistent rhythms). Patients with disrupted rest/activity cycles had flattened diurnal cortisol rhythms.
Maladaptive psychological responses to breast cancer diagnosis were associated with disruption of circadian rest/activity rhythms. Given that circadian cycles regulate tumor growth, we need greater understanding of possible psychosocial effects in cancer-related circadian disruption.