A new study to be published in the journal Cancer examined outcomes for breast cancer survivors based on the quality of their marital relationships. They found that marital distress was related to poorer outcomes, both physically and psychologically. The women were assessed following surgery and then every 4 to 6 months for 5 years. Women in distressed relationships recovered more slowly, were more stressed, had more symptoms, and less physical activity than those in positive relationships. These effects remained even after accounting for depressive symptoms related to the cancer diagnosis.
Although this was a small study, the results suggest a need for marital therapy following a cancer diagnosis.