The impact of marital status on cancer survival

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Feb;52(3):357-68. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00139-8.


Marital differentials in survival from 12 common types of cancer are assessed by estimating a mixed additive multiplicative hazard regression model on the basis of individual register and census data for the whole Norwegian population. These data cover the period 1960-91 and include more than 100,000 cancer deaths. The data and method make it possible to take into account the marital mortality differentialsin the absence of cancer. The excess all-cause mortality among cancer patients compared with similar persons without a cancer diagnosis is, on the whole, more than 15% higher for never-married men, never-married women and divorced men, than for the married of the same sex. Other previously married have an excess mortality elevated by about 7%. This protective effect of marriage is not due to stage, which is controlled for. The possible importance of treatment and host factors is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Death Certificates
  • Divorce / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries
  • Single Person / statistics & numerical data
  • Survival Analysis
  • Widowhood / statistics & numerical data