(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Unmarried men have a higher rate of prostate cancer-specific mortality than married men of similar age, race, stage, and tumor grade, according to a May 20 presentation at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

“Marital status is an independent predictor of prostate cancer-specific mortality and overall mortality in men with prostate cancer,” noted Mark D. Tyson, MD, from Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ, and colleagues, who evaluated the influence of marriage on survival outcomes in men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

They examined 115,922 cases of prostate cancer reported to the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database between 1988 and 2003.

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Of the men, 78% (n=91,490) were married and 22% (n=24,432) unmarried, which included those who were single, divorced, widowed, or separated. Married men were significantly younger (66.4 vs. 67.8 years), more likely to be white (85% vs. 76%), to present with lower tumor grades (68% well or moderately differentiated vs. 62%), and at earlier clinical stages (41% AJCC stage 1/2 vs. 37%; all P<0.0001). Duration of follow-up was 93.9 months for the married group and 75.2 months for the unmarried group.

Multivariate analysis found that unmarried men had a 40% increase in relative risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality, and a 51% increase in overall mortality (both P<0.0001); this difference was maintained after controlling for age, AJCC stage, tumor grade, and race. “Furthermore, the 5-year disease-specific survival rates for married men was 89.1% compared to 80.5% for unmarried men (P<0.0001),” they concluded.

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