Can marriage spell a miracle cure for cancer patients?

Maybe finally we can beat the cancer bug by finding a loving partner!

A research states that the people who are married may survive the dreaded cancer in a better way than the ones who’re single.

The research study

Can we safely state that cancer patients who are married have added years in their life span? Maybe because the experts say that people who are married have shown degeneration at a slower pace than that of the single individuals.

Is this because the caring spouse has a tendency to push her partner for regular cancer screenings?

For this, the researchers gathered data from 2004-2008 from about 734,800 people, who had fallen into the trap of cancer. The test subjects were suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung, breast, prostate, ovarian, colorectal, pancreatic, liver/bile duct, head and neck, ovarian or esophageal cancer. Besides, the researchers also focused on parameters such as income, age, and stage of cancer.

Married people cancer survivors?

According to the researchers, people who were married and suffered from cancer showed 20% less chances of succumbing to the dreaded disease in comparison to the people who were single, widowed or divorced. Survival chances look better for married people, and it had no connection with the stage of cancer, the results were the same, claim the researchers.

People who were married and suffering from cancer showed 17% lesser chances of metastatic cancer. This suggested that the diagnosis of cancer had been done at an early stage and there was possibility of proper treatment at right time. This may be because of the social support that a person gets through the marriage. A married spouse can keep a person away from anxiety and depression, and also make sure that his spouse maintains his/her doctor’s appointments and follow the treatment schedule properly.

Implications of the study

Dr. Paul Nguyen, a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, states, “If you have a friend or a loved one or someone you care about with cancer, you can potentially make a big difference in their outcome by going with them to their doctors visit, and helping them understand their diagnosis.”

The study may be in its preliminary stage and may need more efforts but one thing is for sure that social group interventions like individual counseling and group therapy may do wonders for the cancer patients.

The researchers concluded that married people showed a 12% to 33% lesser probability of dying due to cancer than the ones who were unmarried. The highest survival rates were for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, neck and head cancers. Men benefited more from marriage than women, highlighted the study.

Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, speculated, “There’s a connection [between marriage and cancer survival], but the connection is not necessarily marriage itself, it’s all the things that go with marriage. Unmarried people may be more likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, which could contribute to their increased risk of mortality.”