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Married People More Likely to Survive Colon Cancer

Marriage boosts chances of early diagnosis and aggressive treatment in both genders

THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Married patients with colon cancer may have improved survival rates compared to singles, according to a study published online April 5 in Cancer Epidemiology.

Li Wang, Ph.D., from Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, and colleagues analyzed the association between marital status and outcomes in 127,753 patients with colon cancer who were diagnosed between 1992 and 2006, using the data from the U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. The association between marital status and other variables, and the effect of marital status on the risk of death from cancer were the outcomes studied.

The investigators found that married people were significantly more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier stage, and in the case of men, at an older age as well, compared with single and separated/divorced patients. In addition, the likelihood of receiving surgical treatment was significantly higher in married patients than in all the other groups. After adjusting for age, race, cancer stage, and surgery receipt, the risk of death was significantly lower in married individuals (hazard ratios: for men, 0.86, and for women, 0.87) than in singles. Five-year survival rates were 6 percentage points lower for singles than for married patients. Survival differences were strongest for localized and regional stages of colon cancer, which have middle-range survival rates.

"Marriage was associated with better outcomes of colon cancer for both men and women, and being single was associated with lower survival rate from colon cancer," the authors write.

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