Cancer sucks. But wanna know what stinks even more? Finding out that you relationship status could affect your probability for successfully beating the disease. WTF.
Married people are more likely to survive a cancer diagnosis than those who are unmarried, while other factors like health insurance and economics don't seem to make a huge difference, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer. Researchers identified nearly 800,000 cancer patients in California (almost half of which who had died from the disease) and analyzed data on health insurance, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and, of course, marital status, to determine which factors played the biggest role in their mortality or successful treatment. (Find out more about How Your Relationship Is Linked to Your Health.)
And what they found was pretty grim: Unmarried women had a 19 percent higher risk of death and unmarried men were at a 27 percent higher risk compared to their married counterparts. When you add the socioeconomic and insurance factors those numbers improve, but only marginally.
But wait, there's good news! The researchers say these findings are evidence that it is social support that matters most, so although social support came in the form of marriage for this study, what's not to say a great group of close friends or other family members could have the same life-saving effects? All the more reason to cultivate your most cherished friendships. (Oh, and by the way, there are health benefits to being single too.)