Marriage and Mortality in Bladder Carcinoma

Published in: Cancer, v. 104, no. 6, Sep. 15, 2005, p. 1188-1194

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by John L. Gore, Lorna Kwan, Christopher S. Saigal, Mark Litwin

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BACKGROUND: Being married confers significant benefits in survival for patients with a variety of chronic conditions including breast and prostate carcinoma. The authors attempted to determine whether marital status is associated with survival in patients undergoing radical cystectomy for bladder carcinoma. METHODS: The authors identified 7262 subjects from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results public-use database who underwent radical cystectomy for transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. They performed survival analyses using Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazards models. The authors created multivariate models to evaluate the independent association between marital status and survival, controlling for pathologic stage, lymph node status, age, race/ethnicity, and gender. RESULTS: Married subjects were older and more often male, white, and had earlier disease stage at diagnosis. Married subjects had significantly better survival than did single or widowed subjects (P < 0.001), and married subjects revealed a trend toward better survival than separated/divorced subjects (P = 0.20). Multivariate modeling revealed that compared with single subjects, those who were married had better survival, independent of age at the time of diagnosis, gender, race/ethnicity, disease stage, and lymph node status (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Marriage was associated with improved survival in patients with bladder carcinoma, independent of other factors known to influence mortality in this population. Although the mechanisms underlying this survival advantage are unknown, possibilities include differences in cancer screening, risk behaviors, and access to medical care. The interaction between psychosocial factors and the body's immune function may further explain the differential survival in this cohort. Copyright 2005 American Cancer Society.

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