While being in a committed relationship is associated with a better prostate cancer prognosis, little is known about how marital status relates to its incidence. Social support provided by marriage/relationship could promote a healthy lifestyle and an increased healthcare seeking behavior. We investigated the association between marital status and prostate cancer risk using data from the PRACTICAL Consortium. Pooled analyses were conducted combining 12 case-control studies based on histologically-confirmed incident prostate cancers and controls with information on marital status prior to diagnosis/interview. Marital status was categorized as married/partner, separated/divorced, single, or widowed. Tumours with Gleason scores ≥ 8 defined high-grade cancers, and low-grade otherwise. NCI-SEER's summary stages (local, regional, distant) indicated the extent of the cancer. Logistic regression was used to derive odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between marital status and prostate cancer risk, adjusting for potential confounders. Overall, 14,760 cases and 12,019 controls contributed to analyses. Compared to men who were married/with a partner, widowed men had an OR of 1.19 (95% CI 1.03-1.35) of prostate cancer, with little difference between low- and high-grade tumours. Risk estimates among widowers were 1.14 (95% CI 0.97-1.34) for local, 1.53 (95% CI 1.22-1.92) for regional, and 1.56 (95% CI 1.05-2.32) for distant stage tumours. Single men had elevated risks of high-grade cancers. Our findings highlight elevated risks of incident prostate cancer among widowers, more often characterized by tumours that had spread beyond the prostate at the time of diagnosis. Social support interventions and closer medical follow-up in this sub-population are warranted.
Keywords: Consortium; Marital status; Meta-analysis; Pooled analysis; Prostate cancer.
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