Colon cancer: Personality factors predictive of onset and stage of presentation

This study examined premorbid personality correlates of colon cancer and stage of presentation of colon cancer to health care providers. Sixty-one male veterans who completed the MMPI between 1947 and 1975 and were then diagnosed with colon cancer between 1977 and 1988 were matched with control patients. A 21-factor solution of the MMPI [1] was used to seek potential personality differences between colon cancer cases and their controls in terms of presence of colon cancer and stage of presentation for this disease. A stepwise conditional regression analysis found significant differences between the colon cancer and control groups on the Aggressive Hostility variable (p<0.018). A multivariate analysis of variance conducted across the stages of colon cancer presentation found that patients who presented later on for colon cancer had higher Phobia scores (p<0.05). Religious Fundamentalism who also related to presentation (p<0.05), but in a nonlinear manner. Discussion is related to previous findings regarding the relationship between personality and development of cancer, as well as to implications for patient screening.