If you’re at risk of developing prostate cancer and you’re considering getting a divorce or breaking up with your girlfriend, you might want to get some marriage counseling. According to new research, married men with prostate cancer are 40 percent less likely to die than single men with the disease.
There’s no shortage of research showing that being married has positive health effects, but this current study, published in the Canadian Journal of Urology, is the first to quantify the marriage benefit. Scientists have a few theories for why marriage seems to reduce prostate cancer mortality. One is that being divorced or widowed is stressful—so much so that it reduces the body’s ability to fight off cancer. Another is that married men visit their doctors more than unmarried men—often at the urging (or insistence) of their wife. And once at the doctor, the chance of catching a disease in the early stages is a lot higher.
But honestly, does it really matter why? As the researchers put it, ” ‘Unmarried men have a higher risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality compared to married men of similar age, rage, tumour stage and grade .” A 40% reduction in risk of dying from prostate cancer is huge –way too huge to ignore. Oh, and married men were also less likely to have advanced stage cancer, again, undoubtedly due in part to being able to catch the disease earlier. Early detection is, literally, a life saver in many cases.