CHICAGO Sept. 6, 2012. Married patients with locally advanced lung cancer are likely to survive longer after treatment than patients who are single, according to a study by researchers at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center in Baltimore. The results of the retrospective study are being presented at the 2012 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.
The University of Maryland researchers studied 168 patients with Stage III non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer, who were treated with chemotherapy and radiation over a 10-year-period, from January 2000 and December 2010. They found that 33 percent of married patients were still alive after three years compared to 10 percent of the single patients, with women faring better than men. Married women had the best three-year survival rate (46 percent), and single men had the worst rate (3 percent). Single women and married men had the same 25 survival rate at three years. White married patients had a better survival rate than married African-Americans.
"Marital status appears to be an important independent predictor of survival in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer," says the study's lead author, Elizabeth Nichols, M.D., a radiation oncology resident at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. "The reason for this is unclear, but our findings suggest the importance of social support in managing and treating our lung cancer patients. Patients may need help with day-to-day activities, getting to treatment and making sure they receive proper follow-up care."
"We believe that better supportive care and support mechanisms for cancer patients can have a greater impact on increasing survival than many new cancer therapy techniques. Not only do we need to continue to focus on finding new drugs and cancer therapies, but also on ways to better support our cancer patients," says Dr. Nichols,
|Contact: Karen Warmkessel|
University of Maryland Medical Center