Marriage Matters for Men

Testicular cancer and marriage mix well

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Earlier research has suggested that a man's marital status impacts how well he deals with many items, including testicular cancer. A man's marital status may be an indicator of how long he will live after treatment for the most common malignancy found in young men.

Whether or not he is married also affects his overall survival. In simplest terms, men with testicular cancer who are married live longer.

"Any changes in the testis need to be reported."

A group of researchers from the University of Chicago and Rush University Medical Center conducted a large population study of men with testis cancer. They analyzed how marital status influenced lifespan.

Investigators looked at nearly 31,000 cases of testicular cancer found in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER 17) database between 1973 and 2005.

Patients younger than 18 were excluded from the study. A separate analysis involved patients with early stage of testicular cancer known as non-seminomatous germ cell tumors (NSGCT). A total of 20,245 cases were studied.

Testicular cancer develops in the cells that produce sperm. These are called germ cells. Two types of testis tumors are called seminomas and non-seminomas. Typically, non-seminomas are more aggressive, growing and spreading more quickly.

Among the participants, married men were older than unmarried men - about 39 compared to 31 years old; they tended to be Caucasian - 94.4 vs. 92.1 percent; they commonly had Stage 1 disease (73.1 vs. 61.4 percent) and seminoma tumors (57.3 vs. 43.4 percent).

Married men with testicular cancer and those who were Caucasian lived longer than unmarried men. This was seen in both overall and cancer-related survival.

The same trend was seen among men with Stage I and II disease who had abdominal lymph nodes removed as part of their treatment. This procedure is known as retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND).

These findings led researchers to conclude, "Marital status is an independent predictor of improved overall and cancer-specific survival in men with testis cancer."

Having had RPLND also predicted longer survival in both married and unmarried men.

This study was published in the July issue of Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations.

No financial information was publicly available.

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Review Date: 
August 19, 2012
Last Updated:
January 2, 2014