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High-quality personal relationships improve survival in women with breast cancer
Date:11/9/2012

"I feel distant from my friends." Based on their survey results, the women were additionally characterized as having high or low levels of social support.

The study found that levels of support within relationships were important risk factors for breast cancer mortality. "Women with small networks and high levels of support were not at greater risk than those with large networks, but those with small networks and low levels of support were," Kroenke said. In fact, women with small networks and low levels of support were 61 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and other causes than those with small networks and high levels of support.

"We also found that when family relationships were less supportive, community and religious ties were critical to survival. This suggests that both the quality of relationships, rather than just the size of the network, matters to survival, and that community relationships matter when relationships with friends and family are less supportive."

The women were recruited primarily from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cancer Registry (83 percent) and the Utah Cancer Registry (12 percent), and enrolled in the study between 11 and 39 months post-diagnosis. After an average of 11 years post-diagnosis, 410 women had died from all causes and 215 from breast cancer.

The study suggests that interventions designed to help women with breast cancer improve the quality of their relationships could have an impact on breast cancer outcomes, Kroenke noted. "Women in the LACE study also gained health advantages from developing community and religious ties."


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Contact: Catherine Hylas Saunders
csaunders@golinharris.com
202-585-2603
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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