Marriage is hailed as a ‘miracle cure’ for cancer by scientists, who claim that no existing treatment comes close to delivering the same effect.
Researchers from University of Maryland carried out a study on 168 patients with advanced lung cancer who were treated with chemotherapy and radiation between 2000 and 2010.
Speaking at the 2012 Symposium on Thoracic Oncology in Chicago, they found that a third of those who were married were still alive after three years compared with 10 per cent of those who were single.
46 per cent of women lived for at least three years if they were married, compared with just 3 per cent of single men.
On the basis of these results, if marriage were a drug it would be hailed as a miracle cure.
A similar benefit was also seen in other cancers, including those of the prostate, head and neck.
Cancer patients need support with daily activities, with proper follow-up care and help travelling to and from hospitals for appointments. Researchers believe this is the likely explanation for the threefold survival rate of married patients.
Elizabeth Nichols, a radiation oncology who led the study, said: "Marital status appears to be an important independent predictor of survival in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The reason for this is unclear, but our findings suggest the importance of social support in managing and treating our lung cancer patients."
"We believe that better supportive care and support mechanisms for cancer patients can have a greater impact on increasing survival than many new cancer therapy techniques."
"Not only do we need to continue to focus on finding new drugs and cancer therapies, but also on ways to better support our cancer patients."
A study of 440,000 Norwegian men and women published in 2011 found that men who never married were 35 per cent more likely to die from cancer than married men, and single women 22 per cent more likely to die from cancer than their married counterparts.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012