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Cancer deaths show no seasonal variation

Posted - Dec. 21, 2004 at 3:20 p.m.



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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Ohio researchers say the will of cancer patients to survive to an emotionally significant event has no bearing on their longevity.

Scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a study to be published in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed the timing of more than a million deaths to reach their conclusions.

Those conclusions contradict the view that willpower or some other, unknown psychosomatic mechanism can lengthen the lifespan of terminally ill cancer patients.

The researchers looked at cancer deaths and three key dates, Christmas, Thanksgiving and patients' birthdays,

And found no variation from season to season.

However, there was an increase in cancer deaths among blacks during the week prior to Thanksgiving, and an increase in cancer deaths among white women in the week prior to their birthdays. While statistically significant, the scientists said it is doubtful the findings are meaningful.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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