'Never married' men still more likely to die from cancer
14 Oct 2011
It is known that the unmarried are in general more likely to die than their married counterparts and there is some indication that the divide is in fact getting worse. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public Health looks at the changes in cancer survival over the past 40 years and show that the difference in mortality between the married and never married, especially between married and never married men, has also increased.
Håkon Kravdal from the University of Oslo and Dr Astri Syse from the Cancer Registry of Norway looked at survival data from patients diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 2007 and compared this to their marital status – married, never married, divorced/separated, or widowed. Their results showed that the unmarried have a greater risk of mortality regardless of age, education, site of tumour, time since diagnosis, and cancer stage. Additionally, over the 40 years for the study, the effect of never having been married on mortality increased from 18% to 35% for men and from 17% to 22% for women.
Dr Astri Syse explained, "The differences in survival between unmarried and married people with cancer could possibly be explained by better general health at time of diagnosis or better adherence to treatment regimes and follow ups." Håkon Kravdal continued, "One problem with this kind of study is that cohabiting people are scattered throughout the never married, divorced/separated, or widowed groups. Consequently, presuming cohabiters to have the same benefits as married couples, the actual differences between couples and singletons are probably much higher."
Dr Hilary Glover
Scientific Press Officer, BioMed Central
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3192 2370
Notes to Editors
1. Changes over time in the effect of marital status on cancer survival
Håkon Kravdal and Astri Syse
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community.