Until Death Do You Part

Cancer deaths higher among never married men

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) When it comes to death, married men have it easy. While unmarried men are more likely to die in general, this might be particularly true when it comes to dying from cancer.

A new study examined the records of cancer patients from 1970 to 2007. Researchers used this data and looked at whether the patient was married, divorced/separated, widowed or never married. It was determined that never married men were at a greater risk to die from cancer.

"Getting married might save your life."

Men who had never married were more likely to die from cancer than married men. When researchers looked at the marital status of cancer patients, death raters were  the same regardless of their age, education, site of tumor, time of diagnosis or stage of cancer. In addition to this increased likelihood of death from cancer, never married men had an increased rate of death from any cause.

For never married men compared to married men, death from cancer increased from 18 percent to 35 percent. Never married women also had a higher death rate (22 percent) than married women (17 percent).

According to Dr. Astri Sysse, from the Cancer Registry of Norway, the reasons for this increased death in men who have never married could be due to better health at the time of diagnosis or individuals following up on their treatments. Another factor that could significantly increase the mortality rate between married and never married individuals could be couples who live together and are not married.

In the future, researchers could add this as a category and create a better focus on the mortality rates of single individuals who have never married and are not in a relationship.

This study was published in the October 2011 edition of BMC Public Health.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 13, 2011
Last Updated:
October 16, 2011