Study shows being married can boost chances of survival from colon cancer

23rd June 2011

Married people who have colon cancer have better chances of survival than those who are not married, according to new research.

Both men and women who are married have a 14 per cent lower risk of death at every stage of the disease, the research, which was conducted at Penn State's College of Medicine and Brigham Young University, showed.

By looking at the records of 127,753 patients, researchers found that married people were generally diagnosed earlier and sought more aggressive treatment than those who were not. They had to use time of diagnosis as a control for the investigation.

Study co-author Sven Wilson said: "Controlling for the stage that the cancer was detected is key. Without that, it's hard to know whether the analysis is just picking up a diagnosis effect."

Professor Wilson said one idea behind the increased survival rates was that spouses serve as an important informal caregiver during cancer treatment, and the extra support may translate into better disease management.

A study conducted at Cardiff University recently showed that marriage and commitment was good for physical and mental health in both men and women.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

1. Sven Wilson et al. " Marital status and colon cancer outcomes in US Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries: Does marriage affect cancer survival by gender and stage?" Cancer Epidemiology. 24th February 2011.

2. Gallacher, D and Gallacher, J: "Are relationships good for you?" BMJ, 27th January 2011.

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