Benefits of marriage on relative and conditional relative cancer survival differ between males and females in the USA

The purpose of the paper is to assess the influence of marital status on conditional relative survival of cancer according to sex.

Analyses involved 779,978 males and 1,032,868 females diagnosed with 1 of 13 cancer types between 2000 and 2008, and followed through 2013. Data are from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. Regression models were adjusted for age, sex, race, and tumor stage.

Five-year relative survival conditional on years already survived is higher among married patients with less lethal cancers (oral cavity and pharynx, colon and rectum, breast, urinary bladder, kidney and renal pelvis, melanoma of the skin, thyroid, lymphoma). For more lethal cancers, married patients have similar (liver, lung and bronchus, pancreas, leukemia) or poorer (brain and other nervous system) cancer survival. Separated/divorced or widowed patients have the lowest conditional relative survival rates. For most cancers, 5-year cancer relative survival rates conditional on time already survived through 5 years approach 70 to 90% of that for the general population. The beneficial effect of marriage on survival decreases with years already survived. Superior conditional relative survival rates in females decrease with time already survived and are less pronounced in married patients.

Five-year relative survival rates improve with time already survived. The benefits of marriage on conditional relative survival are greater for less lethal cancers. Greater 5-year conditional relative survival rates in females narrow with time already survived and are less pronounced in married patients.

Conditional relative survival rates of cancer can lead to more informed decisions and understanding regarding treatment and prognosis.

Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice. 2017 Aug 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Ray M Merrill, Erin Johnson

Department of Health Science, College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University, 2063 Life Sciences Building, Provo, UT, 84604, USA. ., Department of Health Science, College of Life Sciences, Brigham Young University, 2063 Life Sciences Building, Provo, UT, 84604, USA.

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