The mortality rate of patients with cancer is determined by many factors, including marital status. A new study found that unmarried men with cancer are more likely to die from the disease than married men with cancer.
According to study conducted by Hakon Kravdal from the University of Oslo and Dr Astri Syse from the Cancer Registry of Norway looked at survival data from patients diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 2007 and compared this to their marital status – married, never married, or divorced.
The results showed that the unmarried have a higher mortality rate regardless of age, location of tumor, and cancer stage, especially between married and never married men. Furthermore, over the 40 years for the study, the mortality rate of unmarried people with cancer increased from 18 percent to 35 percent for men and from 17 percent to 22 percent for women.
Dr Astri Syse explained, “The differences in survival between unmarried and married people with cancer could possibly be explained by better general health at time of diagnosis or better adherence to treatment regimes and follow ups.”
Hakon Kravdal continued, “One problem with this kind of study is that cohabiting people are scattered throughout the never married, divorced, or widowed groups. Consequently, presuming cohabiters to have the same benefits as married couples, the actual differences between couples and singletons are probably much higher.”
This study has been published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Public Health.