Cancer patients in a relationship live longer than single ones. This statement was made by a group of researchers from the Dana Ferber Cancer Institute (USA), who analyzed data on more than 750 thousands of cancer patients.
Scientists found all the necessary information about the patients in the database of the National Cancer Institute. They did a retrospective analysis of a group of people diagnosed between 2004 and 2008, and focused on the most common forms of cancer.
The researchers paid attention not only to the cancer patients’ medical data, but also their social and cultural level (including all the factors that affect patients’ access to full health care), and as a result have identified two patterns.
1. As it turned out, married cancer patients were 17% less likely to suffer metastatic disease compared to the widowed, divorced, and single ones. Treatment of the latter in 53% of cases was less successful because of the delay in seeking medical advice or disregard for medical recommendations, which led to an increase in the number of deaths from 12 % to 37 % (depending on the type of cancer).
2. Patients with prostate, esophagus, intestines, brain, and neck cancer were more likely to recover, if they lived with their husband/wife, rather than just going through the course of radiochemotherapy.
The researchers said that married cancer patients demonstrated a greater desire to live. Typically, the cancer patients’ spouses closely monitor them to follow doctor’s prescriptions and surround them with care and love.
According to the US scientists, spouses’ care increases the success of the treatment and reduces mortality even in the most severe forms of cancer. The scientific work of the Dana Ferber Cancer Institute was published on the website of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.