Tags: cancer | marriage | single | survival | chemotherapy

Marriage Boosts Cancer Survival More Than Chemo

married couple smiling, sitting together on couch
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 30 May 2024 03:22 PM EDT

study published in 2013 has recently come into the social media spotlight because of its unique findings on the benefits of marriage to cancer patients. Researchers found that married patients were less likely to have metastatic cancer, more likely to have proper treatment and were up to 33% less likely to die from cancer than unmarried patients.

The study found that the benefit to males was greater than for females. Surprisingly for prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal and head or neck cancers, the survival benefit associated with marriage was up to 20% greater than chemotherapy.

According to the Daily Mail, the research involved 734,889 patients diagnosed with one of the 10 deadliest cancers in the period from 2004 to 2008: lung, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, head/neck, ovarian and esophageal.

Among the findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology:

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• The average age of unmarried participants was 66, while the married age was 63.

• About 75% of the married group was white compared to 69% of the unmarried group.

• Married patients had higher incomes and education.

• Married patients were 53% more likely to be treated with surgery and 56% more likely to have radiation.

• Married patients were between 12% to 33% less likely to die from cancer. Those with head and neck cancers had the most benefit (33%).

“We found that unmarried patients, including those who are widowed, are at significantly greater risk of presentation of metastatic cancer, cancer undertreatment, and death resulting from their cancer than patients who are married,” the researchers wrote. They noted that this result could be due to the emotional support derived from having a spouse, which reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Stress causes inflammation that may encourage the growth of cancer.

The team also noted that married couples might take better care of their physical needs as well. They suggested that physicians should screen unmarried patients with cancer for any signs of mental health issues that could then be handled by specialists.

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New research supports the 2013 study. A review published last year in the journal Cancer Medicine found that being unmarried is associated with significantly worse overall and cancer-specific survival, with the most vulnerable group being divorced or separated men.

Dr. Daniel Landau, a South Carolina-based oncologist, noted that cancer is an isolating experience and having a partner to help monitor a person’s side effects, take them to appointments and offer support can improve outcomes.

“Having a supportive partner can help mood and motivation, keeping the patient in better spirits,” he said.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
A study published in 2013 has recently come into the social media spotlight because of its unique findings on the benefits of marriage to cancer patients. Researchers found that married patients were less likely to have metastatic cancer, more likely to have proper...
cancer, marriage, single, survival, chemotherapy
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2024-22-30
Thursday, 30 May 2024 03:22 PM
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