Breast Cancer Recovery Negatively Hit by Unhappy Marriages

Mar 27, 2009 by

Breast Cancer Recovery Negatively Hit by Unhappy Marriages

Women in happy marriages also suffer trauma arising from their diagnoses; significantly, they recover better

The study also revealed that even the women in the better marriages would initially go through a period of high stress levels after their cancer diagnoses, as high as those who were in unhappy marriages. But, the key thing was, those in the happy marriages would experience a steady decrease in such stress.

“When you’re diagnosed, that’s devastating for everyone, regardless of the quality of your marriage. But women in good marriages saw steady reductions in their cancer-related stress, while women in distressed marriages had a much slower recovery,” added Yang.

Relationships do not seem to improve after diagnosis

Another sad thing for those in the reportedly bad marriages – even being hit with such a serious illness, most of them do not experience any improvement in the quality of their marriages, a finding which is consistent with those of previous studies. You would think that, perhaps the husbands of these women would become more loving or caring after their partners take ill, but apparently, that does not happen.

“Whether you have a good or bad relationship before being diagnosed with cancer, that is not likely to change afterwards,” said Yang.

Bottom line

A holistically natural and healthy lifestyle goes beyond the physical elements of nutrition and exercise. The great natural healer Dr John Christopher was said to have once remarked that the best healing element is love. On the flip side, others have said that there is nothing more toxic than strained relationships. And, of course, profiling work done on cancer patients has revealed the frequent presence of underlying emotional issues.

“Clearly, marital distress is a risk factor for numerous poorer outcomes, and it is never too late to work to improve your marriage, not only for your emotional well-being but also for your health,” added Yang.

Sounds like good advice to me.


Marital Distress May Affect Breast Cancer Recovery (

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