Science

Why Loneliness Is Not Good For Breast Cancer Survivors

By Christie Abagon , Dec 12, 2016 08:11 PM EST
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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.  If a breast cancer patient is treated before metastasis has occurred, outlook is almost always positive, however, a new study shows that breast cancer survivors who are lonely are more likely to die.

Socially Isolated Women Almost Double The Risk Of Breast Cancer Returning

A recent study shows that factors like having a spouse and engagement with relatives play a role in predicting a breast cancer patient's survival from the disease.  The study tracked breast cancer patients for an average of 10 and a half years after their diagnosis and found that during the study period,  1,448 cancer recurrences, and 1,521 deaths, 990 of which were caused by breast cancer.  The study noted that there was a 16 percent overall chance of the disease returning and an 11 percent chance of death from breast cancer.

Lead researcher, Dr Candyce Kroenke of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, said: "It is well established that women generally and those with breast cancer with greater social ties have a lower risk of death overall."

The positive impact of having a spouse was more pronounced in older white women, but in non-white communities, it's the engagement of other relatives which seemed to make a difference.   Based on the results, the researchers suggest that doctors should take a patients' social situation into account in making prognosis.

'Social Relationships Are Important To Health And Well-Being'

The study also noted the importance of participation in community and religious activities and that you may be married, but if you don't see your friends, that's still social isolation.  Kassandra Alcaraz, strategic director for health equity research at the American Cancer Society said that people are social animals and are not meant to be isolated, reported HealthDay.  "We know that social relationships are important to general health and well-being," Alcaraz said.   

 

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