I completely missed a fundamental piece of ground-breaking research into colorectal cancer in June.
I need to get married
I already drink foul potions and avoid a long list of 'bad' foods. I exercise, meditate, listen to classical music and watch comedies. I keep a journal and am part of a support group. I guess there is only thing left that could save me: marriage.
A study of over 127 000 people with colorectal cancer in the US found that married people have a 14% lower risk of dying from their cancer than 'single' people. The researchers say that spouses provide support, encourage their partners to be compliant during treatment and give the person love.
Do I really need a marriage certificate to live?
The study didn't actually compare married people with single people, it compared married people to people that have never been married (this includes people in relationships but not married).
I've never been married, but I am in a loving and supportive relationship. I live with my partner, cook for her and spend lazy weekends cuddled up. She keeps me away from McDonalds and makes me fresh vegetable juices loaded with enzymes and antioxidants.
But maybe something about the marriage certificate changes people? Maybe it makes people better nurturers? Perhaps 'marriage-hormones' result in a stronger immune system. Is that why the study only compared married to non-married?
It seems the marriage certificate may do something. Many studies have found that married people are happier, committed to the longer-term and have higher levels of well-being compared to single people and those cohabiting. While cohabiting isn't as good as marriage (at increasing your well-being) you can catch up to married people if you marry soon after cohabiting.
It also seems the marriage certificate may do nothing. Some researchers say once you account for people's economic status, backgrounds and culture being married makes you no happier than cohabiting. Also, modern studies focus on patterns within the relationship and not the legal status of that relationship. How you talk, interact and resolve conflict appears to be more important that putting on a puffy dress and having doves released around you.
I think a new study is needed before I buy a ring
If we add 'De-facto' and 'Do not share place of residence with partner' or some other awkward phrase to the stream of hospital questionnaires we complete as patients now, the data should be ready in 10 years.
But cancer survivorship is usually measured over five years. So to get the best of both worlds while waiting for the data I am going to focus on having a positive and healthy relationship AND start pretending I am married.
This way my immune system will benefit from being in a healthy relationship and it will think it is bound to another person by law (just in case that piece of paper does actually matter).
And in cancer circles that's what we call a win-win therapy.
The study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621114157.htm
My online blog: www.benbbrave.blogspot.com
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.