Childhood cancer survivors less likely to marry

By Tom Nordlie • Published: February 1st, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Being a cancer patient is a terrible burden for a child.

And though eighty percent of youngsters who battle cancer survive, the disease still impacts their adult lives.

On average, they’re less educated and less likely to be employed than their healthy counterparts. They also face greater risk of new cancer and early death.

Now, a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention suggests that a disproportionate number of survivors go through life alone.

Researchers found the rate of marriage was twenty-five percent lower for childhood cancer survivors, compared with the general public.

In the study, researchers queried almost nine-thousand survivors.

The questions covered marital status, health history and any lingering physical or mental problems arising from cancer and treatment.

Researchers found specific factors that made it less likely a cancer survivor would marry.

One was the type of cancer involved… those who survived central nervous system tumors had the lowest marriage rate.

Other factors included cancer diagnosis at younger age and a history of radiation treatments to the head.

Those treatments can have side effects including short stature, impaired memory and poor physical functioning.

There was one piece of good news in the study, however.

The results showed that participants who did marry were no more likely to divorce than members of the general public.

In that respect, childhood cancer survivors have the same chance for marital bliss as the rest of us do.

The hard part, it seems, is persevering and waiting for just the right person to come along.