Low-dose environmental radiation, DNA damage, and cancer: The possible contribution of psychological factors

Julie G. Cwikel, Yori Gidron, Michael Quastel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Radiation causes DNA damage, increases risk of cancer, and is associated with psychological stress responses. This article proposes an evidence-based integrative model in which psychological factors could interact with radiation by either augmenting or moderating the adverse effects of radiation on DNA integrity and eventual tumorigenesis. Based on a review of the literature, we demonstrate the following: (1) the effects of low-dose radiation exposures on DNA integrity and on tumorigenesis; (2) the effects of low-dose radiation exposure on psychological distress; (3) the relationship between psychological factors and DNA damage; and (4) the possibility that psychological stress augments and that psychological resource variables moderate radiation-induced DNA damage and risk of cancer. The additional contribution of psychological processes to radiation-DNA damage-cancer relationships needs further study, and if verified, has clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • DNA damage
  • Environmental radiation
  • Psychological stress
  • Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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