Why Does Marriage Improve Cancer Survival?
It’s fairly clear.
Findings published in the journal Cancer indicate that cancer patients who are married live longer than those who are not. Now the task that researchers see ahead is to find out why that is.
Data gathered from the California Cancer Registry, identified 783,167 individuals who were diagnosed with invasive cancer between 2000 and 2009. The marital status, age, sex, race/ethnicity, economic status, year of cancer diagnosis and date of treatment initiation were assessed for each patient All patients were followed until 2012.
Overall, unmarried men had a 27% higher rate of death than married men, while unmarried women had a 19% greater death rate than married women.
The study team observed that marriage benefits for cancer survival varied significantly across racial/ethnic groups. White men and women benefitted most from marriage, while Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders benefitted less. Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders with cancer who were born in the U.S. experienced a greater benefit from marriage than other racial/ethnic groups that were born outside of the country.
Investigators found that the association between marriage and increased cancer survival could only be partly explained by married individuals having better economic resources, suggesting that other factors -- such as social support for cancer patients -- may be important factors.
And so this appears to have turned into a researcher’s dream -- a research project, the results of which demand more research.