OpinionMeister

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Adjunct Therapy for Prostate Cancer - A Wife

The Washington Times reports on a UCLA study that found that prostate cancer patients with wives or in a committed relationship had fewer and less severe side effects from treatment than single patients. Link.
Married patients experience an improved sense of "spiritual well-being," fewer adverse effects from treatment and less anxiety about the disease, according to new research. Married men even have less distressing symptoms. [...]

Prostate cancer is the second-deadliest cancer for men and will strike 232,090 of them this year, according to the American Cancer Society. [...]

For a year and a half, Dr. Litwin surveyed 211 prostate patients who were either married or in a committed relationship, and 80 single patients. Using a series of questionnaires given to the patients every six months, Dr. Litwin assessed their mental health, personal spirituality and the stress brought on by the disease itself.
Dr. John Gore, another urologist and a member of the research team, said the "partnered" men had less anxiety and fear about the disease recurring and were better able to deal with the distressing side effects of treatment, which typically include fatigue, nausea and pain.
"Partnered men did report significantly fewer urinary symptoms. Moreover, partnered men reported significantly fewer general cancer-related symptoms than single men," the study notes.
"Men in a relationship reported better mental health, as well as greater levels of spirituality," the research states, concluding that the "personal relationship independently improved the patient's quality of life and mitigated the psychological and physical impacts of cancer, its treatment and adverse effects."

It has been pretty obvious for some time that mental state plays a major role in our health. People who are alone are more likely to be depressed, and depressed people do not survive illnesses as well at the general population. This does not mean that all single people are alone. Many have extensive networks of friends. However, I suspect that if you broke down the results of the single patients by how alone they were, you might find that to be the most significant differentiating factor, rather than marital status.

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