Sufferers of breast cancer have been shown to deal with the physical symptoms of the disease more effectively by having a good social life, according to a recent study.
Positive relationships with family made a difference
The report was published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and conducted by Kaiser Permanente. For the first time it investigated the influence of social relationships on the quality of life in breast cancer patients.
Chief author Candyce Kroenke, a scientist at Kaiser Permanente, said: "While hundreds of studies have examined the role of factors influencing cancer risk and prevention, this study is one of a small but growing number that focus quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis.”
The study focused on over 3,000 women who had recently been diagnosed with the cancer between 2006 and 2011.
Two months after being diagnosed the women were asked specific questions relating to their social relationships with friends and family, the levels of support they received from their social circles and their quality of life, both emotionally and physically.
Cancer Research UK estimates that over 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year.
The results showed that women with a large social group or those with strong personal relationships were more likely to have a higher quality of life and better levels of social support.
The most important element of a higher quality of life was positive social interaction. Positive social interaction is defined as the availability of friends and family with whom the patient would spend time with.
Kroenke said: “It is possible that positive social interaction may enable women to forget for a while the distress of being a cancer patient.
“It enabled the patients to have fun, relax and get one's mind off things for a while.”
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© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013