Marriage May Help Fight Cancer
For most people, marriage brings a number of benefits that make them happier and more fulfilled. Now, new research indicates it could also make them healthier by decreasing the likelihood of fatal diseases. If you've been weighing the benefits of tying the knot, learn the startling relationship between marriage and cancer survival.
The Power of a Wedding Band
Numerous studies have shown a “marriage advantage” to health and happiness. In fact, scientists have known for years that married cancer patients tend to live longer than their single counterparts. Most experts chalked this disparity up to economic advantages related to improved healthcare; however, new research seems to suggest otherwise.
Published in the journal Cancer, the study examined health records of just under 800,000 adults with invasive forms of cancer. Ultimately, they found no evidence that economic resources played any role in survival rates. What the found instead, however, was a marked survival advantage for married patients, with single men experiencing a 27 percent higher death rate than married male patients, and single women experiencing a 19 percent higher death rate than married female patients.
Why the Disparity?
While they can't say for certain, the researchers theorize support provided by devoted caregivers probably plays a crucial role in improved survival rates. Sadly, single patients do not always have people in their lives that are able or willing to offer care and emotional support.
Other studies have shown that being in a long-term relationship can improve health across the board, with couples living longer irrespective of disease. With this in mind, it's not unsurprising to learn that married cancer patients enjoy better survival rates, thanks probably to reduced stress stemming from emotional support.
What Can Single Cancer Patients Do?
This recent study adds to a growing body of evidence that a cancer patient's psychosocial resources can drastically improve his or her survival outcome. For single patients diagnosed with cancer, it may be especially important to reach out to friends and family who can offer care and support during treatment. Cancer patients may also benefit from counseling and support groups, which allow them to share their fears and concerns with fellow cancer patients.