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Krongrad A, Lai H, Burke MA, Goodkin K, Lai S: Marriage and mortality in prostate cancer. J Urol 156:1696-1700, 1996


PURPOSE: We evaluated the association of marital status and survival in patients with prostate cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using the 146,979 prostate cancer patients of the 1973 to 1990 public use tape of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program we performed survival analysis and multivariate proportional hazards modeling to estimate the relative risk of mortality.

RESULTS: Married patients had significantly longer median survival than those who were divorced, single, separated or widowed. In models that controlled for age, stage, race and treatment, married patients had a significantly lower risk of mortality than those who were divorced, single, separated or widowed.

CONCLUSIONS: Several hypothetical models can explain the association of marital status and mortality in men with prostate cancer. The most attractive model relies on the putative salutary effects of being married on social support and/or mood. A social support and depressed mood model of mortality raises the possibility that in prostate cancer quality of life determines quantity of life. Understanding the relationships among marital status, social support, mood and mortality could open the way to rational strategies for postponing death in men with prostate cancer.