Do You Live Longer If You Are Married?


According to a recent study, published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology,  cancer patients who are married live longer than single people who have the disease. The finding suggests that maintaining chemotherapy and radiation schedules and taking prescribed medication is easier for people who have help from a spouse compared with single people who must manage the logistics of cancer treatment on their own.

When you have a spouse who is present when the patient is diagnosed, they are an invested party and they are going to more than likely make sure the patient goes to the doctor, that they get the necessary treatments,’’ said Dr. Ayal A. Aizer, chief resident of the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program and the study’s first author. “We don’t think there’s something intrinsic about people who are married, but we do think it’s the support marriage is providing that makes a difference.

While I acknowledge the wonderful support many partners give to their loved ones, this study also leaves me with a feeling of unease. What about those for whom a cancer diagnosis reveals the cracks in a marriage? Those for whom the support is not forthcoming? And where does it leave those who are single? What can you do with a report like this? You can’t change your relationship status to increase your life expectancy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please do share them in the comments below.