Being married may significantly improve the likelihood of surviving cancer, researchers say.
Source:- CNN Medical Producer: John Bonifield
In a new study of 700,000 people with diagnoses of the most deadly cancers in the United States, patients who were married were more likely to detect their disease early, receive potentially curable treatments and live longer. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The researchers observed a 20% reduction in deaths among the patients who were married compared to unmarried patients - a benefit bigger than several kinds of chemotherapy used for treating cancer. “It is pretty astonishing,” Dr. Paul Nguyen, the study’s senior author, said. “There’s something about the social support that you get within a marriage that leads to better survival.”
While the study found a strong link, researchers did not show that marriage
directly causes better survival among cancer patients. The study examined
associations between marital status and cancer outcomes.
In the study, people who were on their own were 17% more likely to have
cancer that had spread beyond its original site.
Unmarried patients in the study were also 53% less likely to receive
appropriate therapies. Nguyen, who is a radiation oncologist at Brigham and
Women's Hospital in Boston, said spouses can help patients get the treatments
The perks of being married seem to continue as patients undergo their cancer
treatments, which can often be painful and difficult to endure, Nguyen said.
The results also support findings from a 2005 study showing that older
married women with breast cancer had a lower risk of mortality after diagnosis
than their unmarried counterparts.
“Whatever it is about a marriage that helps people live longer and make it
through their cancer, it might very well be that any friend, any loved one can
do that for a patient with cancer,” he said.
That may be especially true for men, who seemed to benefit more from marriage
in the study than women. “An unmarried guy might be much more of loner about his healthcare,” Nguyen
Our marriage, our cancer. That is just the way marriage is supposed to be.