Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Loneliness and Breast Cancer Survival

loneliness

Loneliness May Sabotage Breast Cancer Survival

 

Loneliness may impede long-term breast cancer survival; a new study suggests.

 

In the years after treatment, women who don’t have strong social ties are more likely to have their cancer return or die from it than women with friends and a support network, the researchers found.

 

Reviewing data on nearly 10,000 breast cancer patients, the researchers linked isolation with a 40 percent higher risk of cancer recurrence compared to socially connected women.

 

These solitary women also had a 60 percent increased risk of dying from breast cancer and a 70 percent increased risk of dying from any cause, the study found.

 

The results weren’t unexpected, the researchers said.

 

“It is well established that women generally and those with breast cancer with greater social ties have a lower risk of death overall,” said lead researcher Candyce Kroenke. She’s with Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

 

People are social animals, said Kassandra Alcaraz, strategic director for health equity research at the American Cancer Society.

 

“We were not meant to be isolated, so the benefits we get from relationships with others and being part of a community are not surprising,” she said. “We know that social relationships are important to general health and well-being.”

 

Exactly why this is so isn’t entirely clear, Alcaraz said. “Having social ties may provide access to real assistance, like having someone to take you to the doctor or having someone to talk to about your concerns or connecting you with resources that can help you cope with the cancer,” she said.

 

Also, social well-being is correlated with physical well-being, Alcaraz added. Having connections to others helps reduce stress and depression and thus leads to better health outcomes, she said.

 

“We need to think of health in a more expansive way. Social influences can be just as important as other risk factors, such as obesity and smoking,” Alcaraz said.

 

Kroencke and her colleagues agreed, saying doctors should consider a woman’s social supports when making predictions for her recovery.

 

For this study, the researchers looked at a woman’s social connections in the two years after her breast cancer diagnosis to see how having friends, a spouse, relatives or community ties might affect her survival.

 

The report was published online Dec. 12 in the journal Cancer.

 

Data was collected on just over 9,000 women. Over an average follow-up of 11 years, more than 1,400 cancers returned. Also, more than 1,500 women died, nearly 1,000 from breast cancer, the researchers found.

 

The links between social connections and prognosis were strongest among women with earlier stage cancer, the researchers said.

 

Also, specific associations differed by age, race, ethnicity and country, Kroenke said.

 

For example, ties to relatives and friends predicted lower breast cancer deaths for nonwhite women. And marriage predicted lower breast cancer deaths only among older white women.

 

In addition, community ties predicted better outcomes in older white and Asian women.

 

“Our findings demonstrate the generally beneficial influence of women’s social ties on breast cancer outcomes, including recurrence and breast cancer death,” Kroenke said.

 

The results don’t mean that loners are doomed to an early death, nor do they show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between isolation and worse survival.

 

Still, it’s important for doctors and other health care workers to help patients connect with support groups and other programs so they won’t remain socially isolated, Alcaraz said.

 

“Social ties have positive health benefits, and social isolation is detrimental to health,” she said. “And it is not unique to breast cancer or to cancer for that matter.”

 

Please share with family and loved ones.

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Does Aspirin reduces the risk of cancer?

aspirin

Did You Know…
… that one baby aspirin a day cuts the risk of cancer development, metastases, and death?
Numerous recent studies, along with a very large British review of published literature, document what many experts have long believed—that is, that small amounts of aspirin over long periods of time can cut your risk of certain cancers.
Below is a round up of reasons that many experts—including your own doctor—might advise you to consider a daily baby aspirin.
Breast Cancer
A study conducted in 2011 showed that women who took aspirin had about a 20% lower risk of breast cancer than non-users.
In another study, breast cancer survivors who took a daily aspirin were 43% less likely to have recurrence and 64% less likely to die from the disease.
Colorectal Cancer
In a huge meta-analysis of 4 large aspirin studies conducted over 18 years, researchers found that taking 75 mg of aspirin (similar to the amount in a baby aspirin) for 5 or more years led to:

  • 70% lower risk of developing colon cancer
  • 40% lower risk of developing rectal cancer

Melanoma
Among 60,000 women studied, those who used aspirin had a 21% lower risk of melanoma compared with non-users.  The longer the women used aspirin, the lower their risk.
Ovarian Cancer
In a study of 20,000 women, those who took aspirin daily had a 20% lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who used aspirin less than once a week.
Prostate Cancer
In a study of 5,955 men who underwent surgery or radiation for prostate cancer, those who regularly used aspirin had a:

  • 57% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer after 10 years of follow-up
  • lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence
  • lower risk of bone metastases from prostate cancer

Other Cancers
One large meta-analysis examined 8 separate studies of more than 25,000 patients who took baby aspirin for 4 years or longer, compared to placebo.  With aspirin, the risk of dying from a several common cancers dropped after 5 years of follow-up:

    10% lower risk for death from prostate cancer 30% lower risk for death from lung cancer 40% lower risk for death from colon, rectal, pancreatic, and stomach cancers 60% lower risk for death from esophageal and throat cancers
When to Start Taking Aspirin?      Researchers say that for most people, your mid 40s are the best time to start taking a low-dose or baby aspirin.  This is when the risk of most cancers starts to rise.  No studies found better results with higher doses.
Of course, researchers don’t know exactly who will definitely benefit from aspirin’s anti-cancer effects.  If you are not currently taking a daily, low-dose or baby aspirin, experts recommend first discussing the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.  Serious risks are uncommon but can be made worse—for example, bleeding, stomach ulcers/gastritis, etc.—by your other health issues or medications.  However, most experts agree that for generally healthy individuals, the risks of taking a daily, low-dose aspirin are low, and the potential anti-cancer benefits are substantial.

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