- Sendai, Japan
- Daniel DeNoon
Personality Types Unrelated to Risk of Developing Cancer
When it comes to cancer, it doesn’t matter how outgoing, emotional, aggressive, or conformist you are. Your personality doesn’t affect your risk of cancer, a new study suggests. Some — but by no means all — earlier studies have found links between cancer and certain personality types. These included being extroverted, having a “type 1” personality, and lacking emotion. These studies had various weaknesses. They tended to focus on small numbers of people. And they often failed to control for important cancer risk factors, such as smoking. Now, a research team led by Yoshitaka Tsubono, MD, of Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, has solved those problems. The researchers gave personality tests to 30,277 people living in northern Japan. Seven years later, they looked at who got cancer and who didn’t.
Four Personality Traits
Tsubono’s team used a test called the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. It uses four measures to analyze personality:
*Extroversion-Introversion. Extroverts are very social people. They have lots of friends and must talk with other people a lot. They like excitement, take risks, and act on the spur of the moment. Introverts are quite and studious. They plan ahead, don’t easily lose their tempers, and value ethical standards.
*Neuroticism. People with high “N” scores tend to be very emotional and overactive. They have trouble calming down. They complain about vague physical problems and tend to be worried, anxious, and irritated.
*Psychoticism (Tough-Mindedness). People with high “P” scores aren’t necessarily crazy. But they tend to be cruel, intolerant, and aggressive. They tend to make trouble for other people and lack empathy.
*Lie. People who score high on this scale are conformists. They “fake good” in order to please others.
Cancer and Personality
After seven years, the researchers saw no link between cancer and any personality trait. However, people who already had cancer tended to score higher on the Neuroticism scale. So did people who got cancer after three years. But since high “N” scores weren’t linked to cancer in the long run, the researchers suggest that it’s not an “N” personality that causes cancer — it’s cancer, or early symptoms of cancer, that make a person anxious and emotional.
The findings appear in the June 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
OCF NOTE: In the emotional section of the main body of the web site, this idea has been explored at great length. Emotions as a precursor to developing cancer is an idea which has been dismissed by the vast majority of doctors in the field of psycho-oncology, and that includes OCF board member Dr. Jimmie C. Holland, MD. Dr. Holland is the Chair, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This published study reinforces what was generally believed by those in this field.