Stressful life events such as divorces raise the risk of women with cervical cancer dying, a study has found.
Females battling the disease who experienced stress were up to 55 per cent more likely to die after being diagnosed.
Scientists in Sweden believe stress weakens the body's immune system, helping cancerous tumours to thrive.
They said there is growing evidence to suggest 'psychological distress may affect the progression of many cancer types'.
Stressful life events raise the risk of women dying from cervical cancer, a study has found
And the team said that diagnosed cancer patients are at increased risk of several stress-related disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
The Sweden's Karolinska Institute researchers examined the records of 4,245 newly-diagnosed cervical cancer patients in Sweden between 2002 to 2011.
They also took note of patients who had been clinically diagnosed with one of three psychiatric disorders.
These were anxiety and depression, stress-reaction and adjustment disorders, with symptoms including feelings of sadness and lack of sleep.
They identified patients who had to deal with a 'stressful event', such as the death or severe illness of a family member, divorce, or being between jobs.
Cervical cancer was named as the cause of death for 1,005 patients out of 1,392 who died.
Overall, the researchers found that 1,797 patients either had stress-related disorders or had undergone stressful life events.
Patients with a stress-related disorder or who had to deal with a stressful event in their lives were 33 per cent more likely to die of the disease than those who had not reported stress, according to the study.
Those with stress-related disorders were 55 per cent more likely to die of their cervical cancer, according to the report published in the Cancer Research journal.