The study, carried out by researchers from the University of
Maryland, included sixty-eight individuals who had undergone chemotherapy and
radiation, from 2000 to 2010, for advanced lung cancer.
It was revealed that one third of the married lung cancer patients
were still alive after three years of treatment, while only 10% of the patients
who were single remained alive. The study also showed that among the survivors,
women fared better.
It was shown that patients of other cancers, such as the prostate
and head and neck also benefited from being married.
According to the study experts' marital status appears to be a
significant independent predictor of survival in patients with locally advanced
non-small cell lung cancer. Although the reason for this is still unclear it
can be said undoubtedly that there is a great deal of importance in social
support in managing and treating these deadly cancers.
It is a well-known fact that cancer patients become debilitated as
the disease advances and, therefore, require support to carry out their daily
activities. They also need help to keep appointments for hospital visits.
It is in this context that married individuals are able to cope
with the situation better than their single counterparts who have to cope with
the tragedy alone.
Elizabeth Nichols, a radiation oncologist, who was the lead
researcher in the study states that although it is mandatory to continue to
focus on new drugs and therapies to counter cancer there is also an equally
compelling need to find out new and better methods to provide mechanisms to
safeguard the survival of these patients.
This study has been presented at the 2012
Symposium on Thoracic Oncology, Chicago.