Love, Marriage and Colon Cancer

Colon cancer patients who are married live longer

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

(RxWiki News) Being married isn't just good for the soul. Marriage has a number of clinically proven health benefits. Scientists have added another one recently.

Colon cancer patients who have marriage partners live longer. This finding is true for every stage of the disease, according to a recent Penn State College of Medicine and Brigham Young University study.

"Marriage is good for your health and longevity."

An analysis of 127,753 patient records found that married patients had a 14 percent lower risk of death from colon cancer.

Other similar studies involving other types of cancers have found that marriage impacts not just survival but diagnosis and treatment. Researchers found that those who were married tended to be diagnosed earlier. They also were more likely to pursue more aggressive treatment than unmarried patients.

These results take these and other factors such as age into account before reaching the conclusions.

The point at which cancer is diagnosed remains key in calculating survival statistics, says coauthor Sven Wilson, professor at Brigham Young University.

Because marriage is a self-selected group, Wilson says it's difficult to zero in on the root cause for life expectancy. Interestingly, though, the results were identical for men and women.

Intuitively, it's thought that spouses usually serve as caregivers during a critical time in the patient's life. That extra support may carry over to bettr overall disease management that results in better outcomes.

The study is published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

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Review Date: 
June 28, 2011
Last Updated:
July 5, 2011