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BEST WAY TO PREVENT CANCER: A happy marriage

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What's the best way to prevent cancer, in particular in older men? A happy marriage, a new study suggests. Statistics have proven that married men who get prostate cancer are 40 percent less likely to die from the disease than those who are single.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As published in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Urology, the recent report supports the findings of similar earlier studies which showed the health benefits of steady relationships.
 
Statistically, it appears that a happy marriage has a powerful protective effect against the devastating effects of a tumor. While it's not clear why wedlock bolsters survival prospects, one theory is that men who have been through a divorce or those who are widowed are more at risk due to the effect of stress on their bodies.

Married men are also more likely to seek medical help at the first sign of symptoms because of encouragement from their wives.

An international study involving 163,000 volunteers in 2011 found unmarried men with prostate cancer were 30 percent more likely to die from their disease than their married counterparts. Married men were also more likely to have less advanced cancer because they sought help earlier.

In the United Kingdom, prostate cancer deaths are commonplace. Nearly 32,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually and 10,000 men die from it, the equivalent of more than one an hour.

Risk increases with age, with men over 50 more likely to develop a tumor, coupled with a strong genetic element. Early diagnosis is crucial in order to boost survival prospects.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona studied almost 116,000 men between 1988 and 2003 to see how many developed prostate cancer during that period. When they matched the results up with data on marital status, they found married men were more likely to turn up at their doctors with lower-grade tumors that were at a less advanced stage.

Unmarried men were 40 percent more likely to end up dying from the disease than those who were settled with a partner.

The following years brought this out. Five years after diagnosis, the researchers found, 89 percent of married men were still alive, compared with just 80 percent of those who were single.

"Unmarried men have a higher risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality compared to married men of similar age, rage, tumor stage and grade," the researchers concluded.

Marriage is also helpful in warding off arthritis, it seems. A 2010 study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that patients in happy matrimony reported less joint pain than those who were single or in an unhappy marriage, because their emotional stability had a powerful painkilling effect.

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