Marriage could mend cancer better than medicine

By Shayna Brouker • Published: December 13th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Some lucky couples make it through life relatively unscathed by conditions set forth in wedding vows. But what happens when in sickness comes into play? Of all the reasons to get married, preventing illness shouldn’t be one of them … but new research shows the ole’ ball and chain could be a major benefit in the event one gets cancer. A study from Harvard University found that married people have a much higher chance of surviving cancer than singletons, and that wedded bliss can have an even stronger therapeutic effect than medicine.

The study of more than 730,000 people found that married people were 20 percent less likely to die of cancer than people who were single, widowed or divorced. Married folks were also more prone to catch the disease early on and to get proper treatment. As far as improving survival statistics, wedded bliss was even more powerful than chemotherapy.

Men seemed to benefit more from marriage than women. Married men were 23 percent less likely than bachelors to die of cancer. Married women were sixteen percent more likely than singletons to beat the disease. Having a partner in your corner to lean on when times get tough makes a huge difference in bolstering mental fortitude to take on a potentially terminal illness.

But the health of a marriage is critical — an unhealthy marriage can be almost as damaging as a cancer, eating away at emotional wellness. Healthy marriages can improve your overall wellbeing in other ways. Those who have tied the knot tend to have safer behavior, taking fewer risks. And nagging’s not as negative as you think — it could just get you to the doctor in time to check out that suspicious tumor.