Divorce Makes It Harder to Fight Cancer


According to a recent study, stress associated with divorce has a negative effect on cancer patients, as family breakdown leads to weaker immune system and thus makes it harder for the patients to fight cancer.


Dr. Gwen Sprehn from the Indiana University, USA discovered that people who have a family have higher chances surviving cancer. The researcher reports that on average 63.3% of cancer patients with families survive past the five-year benchmark after diagnosis, while 57.5% survive ten-year benchmark.

The lowest survival rate was shown in people who got divorced while suffering cancer: in five years only 45.4% of them are still alive, while in ten years only 36.8%. Even widowed patients are better at fighting cancer, as in five years 47.2% of them live, and in ten- 45.6%. As for caner patients who had never married, in five years after diagnosis 57.3% of them survive, while in ten years 51.7% live. The study examined 3.79 million patients, who were diagnosed between 1973 and 2004.

Dr. Sprehn believes that psychologists can help reduce divorce-related stress, which in turn will improve the cancer patient’s immune system and thus increase the chances of survival. The earlier the psychologists address the patient’s family issues, the earlier they can help them, and thus the better effect they may have on the patient’s prognosis.

Source of the image: flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera.