The blog of Xeno, a slightly mad scientist
A cancer diagnosis can be tough to go through alone – and now a new study suggests not having a spouse may even decrease survival odds.
“Our data suggests that marriage can have a significant health impact for patients with cancer, and this was consistent among every cancer that we reviewed,” study co-author Dr. Ayal Aizer, chief resident of the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, said in a written statement.
Researchers searched through a National Cancer Institute surveillance database to analyze nearly 735,000 people who were diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2008. They honed in on the top 10 leading causes of U.S. cancer deaths: lung, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, prostate, liver/bile duct, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck, ovarian, and esophageal cancer.
They looked for marriage status, adjusting the data to remove other factors that could influence survival results, like age, race, gender, income and education levels.
The researchers found that unmarried cancer patients were 17 percent more likely to have their cancer spread elsewhere in the body, known as metastatic cancer. That includes those who were widowed. Cancer patients without a spouse were also 53 percent less likely to have received the appropriate therapy for their disease.
Overall, the analysis found married cancer patients live longer than their single or widowed counterparts. …