September 29, 2013 by Robert Wascher
Filed under A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Death, Cancer Survival, Colorectal Cancer, Healthy Aging, Marriage, Marriage & Cancer Survival, Risk of Death, Weekly Health Update, colon cancer, health, men, mortality, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, rectal cancer, risk, survival, treatment
A new study shows that being married is associated with improved cancer survival in both men and women.
MARRIAGE IMPROVES CANCER SURVIVAL
It has often been observed that married people, and married men in particular, tend to be healthier and live longer than unmarried people. A number of explanations have been offered to explain this phenomenon, including the greater tendency of married men to abstain from unhealthy behaviors when compared to unmarried men. Now, a newly published clinical research study suggests that married cancer patients may have significantly better outcomes when compared to unmarried patients. This research study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Using a large public cancer database (the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, or SEER, database), 734,889 patients diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2008 were studied. These patients’ diagnoses included cancers of the lung, colon, rectum, breast, pancreas, prostate, liver, bile ducts, head and neck, esophagus and ovaries, in addition to lymphoma.
After adjusting for other potential confounding factors, the researchers conducting this study found that married patients were17 percent less likely to present with advanced-stage (“metastatic”) cancer, compared to unmarried patients. Married patients were also 53 percent more likely to undergo recommended treatments for their cancers when compared to unmarried patients. Finally, married cancer patients were, in general, 20 percent less likely to die as a result of their cancers when compared to unmarried patients. Not surprisingly, male cancer patients experienced a greater benefit from marriage in these important areas when compared to married female cancer patients. (Although married women appeared to significantly benefit from marriage, as well.)
A particularly fascinating finding in this clinical study was that the survival benefit associated with being married exceeded the average survival benefit of chemotherapy for cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, and head and neck!
The findings of this very interesting clinical study suggest that the social support that married people enjoy, as well as other benefits of marriage, appears to have a very positive impact on patients seeking care for cancer at an earlier stage of disease, and in patient compliance with cancer treatment recommendations. Therefore, marriage appears to be associated with significant improvements in cancer detection, earlier and more complete cancer treatment, and cancer-associated survival. While these benefits of marriage appear to apply to both men and women, men especially seem to benefit from marriage in this regard.
For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!
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According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent. A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers. If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.
Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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