Background: In a previous study [Psychother Psychosom 1994;61:199-204] we investigated the relationship between alexithymia, carcinogenesis and immunity in a group of women who were unconscious sufferers from precan-cerous lesions of the cervix (CIN). The results of this study showed a high level of association between alexithymia and CIN and, an even more interesting fact, between alexithymia and reduced levels of immunity. Methods: The aim of the present study is to check the results of the previous one by testing a larger group (43 women affected by cervical dysplasia and 67 healthy women) and by the use of a self-administered test for detection of alexithymia, the well-validated Twenty-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). Results: The results confirm that women suffering from CIN have higher average TAS-20 ratings (55) than normal women (47.32) and that the level of alexithymia detected in the group of women suffering from dysplasia (42.5%) is higher than that of normal women (12.85%). Moreover, the present study confirms that alexithymic women have lower rates of a number of lymphocyte subsets than non-alexithymic women. Conclusions: This study fully confirms the results of our previous work and those of a number of other studies: (1) personality might be one of the factors jointly responsible for the outbreak of cancer; (2) the immune system appears to play an important part as a mediator between personality and cancer.

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