The study's senior author, Steven J. Feigenberg, M.D., an associate professor of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, says additional research is planned. "We need to better understand why marriage is a factor in our patients' survival," says Dr. Feigenberg, who is also a radiation oncologist at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. "We're also trying to determine if these findings can be corroborated in the multi-institutional setting,"
E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, "Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer death in both men and women, and this study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine suggests that having a spouse who can act as a caregiver may improve survival for patients with this type of cancer. We must figure out ways to help all of our cancer patients live longer, with a better quality of life, regardless of their marital status."
The patients in the study were evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists, surgeons and medical oncologists at the Greenebaum Cancer Center and were treated with a standard combination of radiation and chemotherapy, typically followed by additional rounds of chemotherapy. With a mean follow-up of a year and four months, the mean survival was 13 months. Researchers used an analysis tool to estimate overall survival, with 21 percent of the patients alive at three years and 12 percent at five years.
Previous studies have found decreased survival for single men diagnosed with several types of cancer, including prostate and head-and-neck cancers. A study of 440,000 Norwegian men and women, published last year, found that men who never m
|Contact: Karen Warmkessel|
University of Maryland Medical Center