Study: Effexor users have no increased risk of cancer

People who are taking Effexor due to depression may have heard that this mental disorder is associated with cancer risk.

People who are taking Effexor due to depression may have heard that this mental disorder is associated with cancer risk. For some time, there has been much debate on this topic within the medical community . This is why Dr. Cedric Lemogne and colleagues decided to put the suggestion to a test.

Details from the study
Researchers collected data in order to examine the relationship between different symptoms of depression and instances of cancer within different areas of the body. From January 1994 through December 2009, 14,203 participants were followed up with regarding instances of cancer diagnoses. During this time, the investigators collected information regarding depressive symptoms through self-reporting based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale.

Over the course of the study, 1,119 patients were diagnosed with cancer - excluding the accounts of nonmelanoma skin cancer and in situ neoplasms. Researchers focused on six cancer sites: prostate, breast, colorectal, smoking-related, lymphoid and hematopoietic tissues. When compared with four measures of depression, there was one positive and one negative association. Based in this information, the doctors concluded that their research found no compelling evidence to support the claim that depression increases an individual's risk for cancer.

"We have found nothing, and usually it is not very interesting when researchers have found nothing," Dr. Cedric Lemogne, lead author, said in a statement. "But in this case, it was the point."

This information is outstanding, considering a study in the 1990s found depression to nearly double the risk of cancer in patients. As these findings have yet to be repeated since, it is likely that it was an inaccurate assessment of the collected data. However, it has been noted by the authors of this study that in the past, there have been conflicting results to their research. As a result, it is not uncommon for cancer patients to blame themselves for worsening symptoms if the disease has spread or returned. However, sadness is a common feeling associated with the struggles of fighting cancer.

"Many people are convinced when they develop cancer that they know exactly what caused it," James Coyne, a health psychology professor, told Reuters. "I get particularly concerned if patients are left with the idea that they can control the course of cancer through psychological training."

Although it is possible that someone who has been diagnosed with depression may also develop cancer at some point in their lives, there is no evidence that provides a link between the two. Effexor users can maintain healthy lifestyles in order to ward off disease, but in many cases, cancer is unavoidable.