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News / February 14, 2017

Married couples more likely to seek cancer help

by Guy Hiscott

As oral cancer rates spike among women in Ireland, researchers find that married couples are more easily encouraged by their spouses to seek medical care when problems arise.

People who are married are also better at sticking with medication. In the study, researchers expressed concern about the rising incidence of oral cancer in women, which rose from 24% in 1994 to 32% in 2009.

‘This phenomenon raises the possibility of unmarried patients being a suitable target for social support interventions that may improve survival,’ the report stated. Married patients were also shown to be less anxious and depressed after a cancer diagnosis as their partners offered support.

Oral cancer rise

Researchers pointed to underlying patterns of tobacco consumption over the past few decades for rising rates of the disease, which is traditionally more common in men. Other influential factors included alcohol, HPV and diet, as well as time of diagnosis and age.

Hala Ali, one of the lead researchers, commented: ‘Several of these are modifiable risk factors, which are crucial for informing public health policies, and thus more research is needed.’

The study was carried out by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College Cork and published in BMC Cancer.