Married Patients are More Likely to Survive Cancer


| 2 Comments
While reading the USA Today, I came across an article that directly relates to our discussions in class.  The article that those with cancer have a greater risk of survival if they are married concluding that "Married people with cancer were 20% less likely to die from their disease, compared to people who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married, according to study published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology."

To the average paper reader, the article may be viewed as a historical study that is ground breaking in the science community.  However, as a Sci200 student, one must dive in and further examine the article and its scientific content.  Thinking more and more about the study, I came to the conclusion that this truly could never be proved due to the inability to perform and experiment on humans.  You would have to divide each group up into control, having the disease, married, and/or single for what ever reason.  It is unethical to do so in a scientific environment due to the fact that you cannot make someone have cancer and you also cannot make someone be married. Therefore, the only way that this could be further examined is if more observational studies are done on the subject.  

However, the article also talks about things such as having someone there for you makes you more comfortable, patients that have someone are more likely to get diagnosed at an earlier stage, and that people who are single are more likely to heavily smoke and drink than married people.  All of these variables play into the question of whether or not being married increases your chances of surviving cancer which makes it a very difficult question to scientifically study.      

2 Comments

You are correct about how doing an experiment would be unethical. I believe people who are divorced and are sick could possibly suffer from depression, which could make his or her chances of surviving less. People that have a loved one take care of them are more likely to stay positive, and have a shot of surviving. In the end, it would be difficult to prove this theory.

This would be a very hard case to study. I think your right it would have to be observational. I think having the support and comfort of a significant love one always there with you would definitely increase the chances of surviving cancer. A person would want to be more determined and succeed to stay alive so that they can still spend the rest of their lives with their significant other, where if the person did not have a lover they would be more acceptable with the outcome of possibly death because there is nothing to fight for. In these websites http://www.positscience.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love and http://www.brainhealthhacks.com/2008/10/16/the-neuroscience-behind-hope/ it talks about how dopamine is released in the brain causing one to feel love towards another and it also creates energy. So maybe because dopamine is triggered in the brain when a patient is around their love one it causes them to also gain energy and possibly have the extra energy to beat cancer.

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