Being married may help cancer survival
September 23rd, 2013
05:32 PM ET

Being married may help cancer survival

Being married may significantly improve the likelihood of surviving cancer, researchers say.

In a new study of more than 700,000 people with diagnoses of the most deadly cancers in the United States, patients who were married were more likely to detect their disease early, receive potentially curable treatments and live longer. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers observed a 20% reduction in deaths among the patients who were married compared to unmarried patients - a benefit bigger than several kinds of chemotherapy used for treating cancer.

“It is pretty astonishing,” Dr. Paul Nguyen, the study’s senior author, said. “There’s something about the social support that you get within a marriage that leads to better survival.”

While the study found a strong link, researchers did not show that marriage directly causes better survival among cancer patients. The study examined associations between marital status and cancer outcomes.

The protective benefits of marriage may be due, in part, to spouses who stay on top of their partner’s health, especially their recommended cancer screenings, study authors said.

“You’re going to nag your wife to go get her mammograms. You’re going to nag your husband to go get his colonoscopy,” Nguyen said. “If you’re on your own, nobody’s going to nag you.”

In the study, people who were on their own were 17% more likely to have cancer that had spread beyond its original site.

Unmarried patients in the study were also 53% less likely to receive appropriate therapies. Nguyen, who is a radiation oncologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said spouses can help patients get the treatments they need.

“When I meet somebody by themselves sometimes they can be really overwhelmed by the information,” he said. “All the facts that you need to make your decisions, you don’t even hear those facts when you’re the person. You really need somebody else that’s listening and making those kinds of judgments for you.”

The perks of being married seem to continue as patients undergo their cancer treatments, which can often be painful and difficult to endure, Nguyen said.

“If you’ve got a spouse with you who is kind of helping you at the end of the day, helping you get your other stuff in order and really encouraging you to go to your treatments, I think you’re probably much more likely to complete those treatments and get the benefit of the treatment,” he said. “I’ve definitely taken a lot of patients through treatment where there’s no way they could have made it through without their spouse.”

The results also support findings from a 2005 study showing that older married women with breast cancer had a lower risk of mortality after diagnosis than their unmarried counterparts.

All this might sound like a downer for people who aren’t married, but Nguyen doesn’t see it that way.

“Whatever it is about a marriage that helps people live longer and make it through their cancer, it might very well be that any friend, any loved one can do that for a patient with cancer,” he said.

That may be especially true for men, who seemed to benefit more from marriage in the study than women.

“An unmarried guy might be much more of loner about his healthcare,” Nguyen said.

“Don’t be afraid to bring a buddy. Reach out to people because it could make a big difference.”

soundoff (783 Responses)
  1. RV Collision Repair Riverside


    May 13, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. windshield repair fullerton


    May 13, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. truck shops in orange county


    May 13, 2021 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Camera Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Generator Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Sound System Riverside

    Excellent post. I certainly appreciate this site. Thanks!


    May 14, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. stornobrzinol

    Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web-site is so cool. I'm impressed by the details that you’ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What a great web-site.


    May 14, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dodge Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. paint shops near me


    May 14, 2021 at 07:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. horse trailer repair

    This excellent website really has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 14, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Tires Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. leather repair orange county

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 14, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. isotretinoine

    accutane before and after https://accutaneisotretinoine.com/# side effects of accutane

    May 14, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv fiberglass repair

    Hello there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, wonderful website!


    May 14, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. gold buyers

    platinum refineries


    May 14, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. horse trailer paint jobs

    Hi there, I do believe your blog may be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great blog!


    May 14, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Eye Doctor

    Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 14, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. houses for sale rathdrum id


    May 14, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. real estate for sale sandpoint idaho

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 15, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. trusted tire orange ca

    Right here is the perfect site for everyone who wishes to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for ages. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    May 15, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 2017 Maserati Near Me

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    May 15, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Kids Eye Doctor Near Me

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…


    May 15, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Kids Eye Doctor Near Me

    After going over a handful of the articles on your blog, I seriously like your way of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and let me know your opinion.


    May 15, 2021 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Used Maserati

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be exciting to read through content from other writers and practice a little something from other sites.


    May 15, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Maserati Lease Los Angeles


    May 15, 2021 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv body shop near me


    May 15, 2021 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. travel trailer floor repair videos


    May 15, 2021 at 21:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Internet Marketing California

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 15, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Internet Marketing Cypress

    There's definately a lot to find out about this topic. I love all the points you have made.


    May 15, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Aika Game


    May 16, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Social Media Marketing Company Cypress


    May 16, 2021 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv parts close to me

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 16, 2021 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. what is provigil

    adrafinil vs modafinil armodafinil vs modafinil

    May 16, 2021 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Aika Global


    May 16, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Handicapped Van Repair

    This web site definitely has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 16, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Repair Van


    May 16, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Paulette Dontas

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/09/pictures-great-views-of-boeing-dream-lifter-at-the-future-of-flight/


    May 16, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sprinter Van Repair Shop Near Me

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 16, 2021 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 3.0 Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair

    You've made some decent points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    May 16, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service Center Near Me

    You are so interesting! I don't think I've truly read through anything like that before. So good to find another person with a few original thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 16, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me


    May 16, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Mercedes Sprinter Authorized Repair Center


    May 17, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 1990 Chrysler Tc By Maserati


    May 17, 2021 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Start Error Mercedes Sprinter Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Zane Schroth

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs


    May 17, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 3.0 Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Diesel Repair

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I actually thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    May 17, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV AC California

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 17, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Maserati Ghibli 2016


    May 17, 2021 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Ross Loosey

    I don't know about you people but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/06/contest-answer-how-many-flowers-does-it-take-to-lei-an-hawaiian-airlines-airbus-a330/


    May 17, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to appomannoni


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.