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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 19, 2012

Good Relationships May Increase Your Chances of Surviving Breast Cancer

Moral support goes a long way in fighting the Big C. By Charlene J. Owen

No man or woman is an island, and this is especially true for those who are suffering from breast cancer, as the quality of relationships they have seem to have a big impact on their survival.  

A study from Kaiser Permanente featured on delved into the importance of strong relationships to those who are fighting the Big C. Working with 2,264 women who have been diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer from 1997 to 2000, researchers studied how they related with others and classified them as “socially isolated,” “moderately integrated,” and “socially integrated.”

The results showed that 34 percent of the participants who were considered socially isolated had a higher risk of dying from breast cancer than from any other reason as compared to those who were socially integrated. Also, the level of support from family and friends counted as an important factor to survival and recovery; 61 percent who had few relationships and low support levels had greater chances of succumbing to the illness.  

A recent interview with radiation oncologist Dr. Mary Ann Genina-Reyna also highlights the need for continued support. Regular visits and lively conversations give patients an avenue to express their emotions, letting them know that they’re not going through the ordeal alone.

Although it’s a fact that there’s not much you can do for patients on a physical level, it’s important to know that you have the power to heal them on an emotional level. Cancer is more than just a battle fought with medication and therapies; it’s one that’s won with love and support.

(Screencap from The Big C courtesy of Showtime)

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