Secret weapon in fight against lung cancer… is being MARRIED: Singles less likely to survive after treatment
A third of married patients were still alive after three years compared to 10 percent of the single patientsMarried women had the best three-year survival rate (46 per cent), and single men had the worst rate (3 per cent)
09:55 GMT, 7 September 2012
Spousal support: Married patients are more likely to survive for longer after cancer treatment
Being married can make a big difference in how long people survive after undergoing treatment for lung cancer, a study from the University of Maryland has found.
Researchers studied 168 patients with locally advanced lung cancer, who were treated with chemotherapy and radiation over a 10-year-period, from January 2000 and December 2010.
They found that 33 per cent of married patients were still alive after three years compared to 10 percent of the single patients, with women faring better than men.
Married women had the best three-year survival rate (46 per cent), and single men had the worst rate (3 per cent).
Single women and married men had the same survival rate. White married patients had a better survival rate than married African-Americans.
The study’s lead author, Elizabeth Nichols, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center said: 'Marital status appears to be an important independent predictor of survival in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Cancer: Help with follow-up care may be vital for survival
'The reason for this is unclear, but our findings suggest the importance of social support in managing and treating our lung cancer patients. Patients may need help with day-to-day activities, getting to treatment and making sure they receive proper follow-up care.
'We believe that better supportive care and support mechanisms for cancer patients can have a greater impact on increasing survival than many new cancer therapy techniques.
'Not only do we need to continue to focus on finding new drugs and cancer therapies, but also on ways to better support our cancer patients.'
Further research is now being planned to determine if the findings can be corroborated on a wider basis.
E. Albert Reece, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, said: 'Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in both men and women, and this study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine suggests that having a spouse who can act as a caregiver may improve survival for patients with this type of cancer.
'We must figure out ways to help all of our cancer patients live longer, with a better quality of life, regardless of their marital status.'