Anger and cancer: an analysis of the linkages

Cancer Nurs. 2000 Oct;23(5):344-9. doi: 10.1097/00002820-200010000-00003.


The purposes of this article are to review literature on anger's link to cancer, to analyze the state of the science in this area, and to propose some directions for future research. Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis. Some studies indicate that it may be beneficial for patients to mobilize anger to battle their cancer. However, there is a paucity of research on the outcomes of various anger interventions. Longitudinal studies that repeatedly measure anger and other moods over the disease trajectory are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anger*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Psychological Theory