The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Cancer survival study’s marriage link
Married people are more likely to survive cancer than those who are single, a study suggests.
Preliminary research on almost 60,000 people with a range of blood cancers found that, on average, married people were 20% more likely to survive than single people, while single men fared the worst.
Data in the study, drawn from the California Cancer Registry between 2000 and 2009, included people with leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Author of the study Matthew Wieduwilt, assistant clinical professor of the US blood and marrow transplantation programme, said: “Single patients often present at a later stage and are sicker.
“If you are single, you don’t have someone at home nagging at you to get checked out – this is particularly true with men. Women tend to have more support even if they are single.
“Married people and people with families are more likely to stick to treatment. They have a support system making them go to chemo, reminding them to take their medication.
“They are also more motivated to seek out healthcare. To put it bluntly, they have something to live for.
“These results show that health services need to take more care of single patients, they need to be the surrogate for a spouse.”
Professor Maria Elena Martinez, of the University of California, San Diego, and co-author, said: “Being single should be a red flag for doctors. If a cancer patient comes in without a family member or spouse, it should be a warning sign.
“Medical staff need to ask the patient about the support at home. Doctors need to go that little bit extra with single patients.”
“Being single should be a red flag for doctors.
PROFESSOR MARIA ELENA MARTINEZ