A new study published in the International Journal of Cancer Epidemiology found that single cancer patients are more likely to die within 10 years than partnered ones. The researchers from Queensland University of Technology and Cancer Council Queensland claim the exact reasons are unclear but having a partner promotes a healthier lifestyle, better financial resources and social support during cancer treatment.

The researchers studied 176,050 cases of the 10 most common types of cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2012. Single men were 26 percent more likely to die while single women were 20 percent more likely to die than those with partners.

“So we saw the survival advantage for partnered versus unpartnered men ranged from about two per cent with cases of cancer, including lung cancer, to about 30 per cent, which was the head and neck cancers, and then partnered versus unpartnered women, the advantage ranged from about two percent for kidney and lung cancer, up to 41 per cent for uterine cancer,” says Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman, Katie Clift.

An earlier study, also by Australian researchers, says a new anti-cancer drug class called nutlins make cancer cells self-destruct. Nutlins activate the gene called P53 that suppresses cancer development. The study was published in the journal Cell Reports and gives important information to develop improved strategies in treating cancer without harming healthy cells through this class.


Dr Brandon Aubrey and colleagues have discovered nutlins turn off cancer cells. Photo by Walter+Eliza Hall

Dr Brandon Aubrey and colleagues have discovered nutlins make cancer cells self-destruct. Photo by Walter+Eliza Hall

Another study by researchers at the Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Berlin’s Frei University claim that cancer cells can remain dormant or “switched off” by giving the patient a nanomedicine that contains cancer-inhibiting microRNAs. The study, published in the journal ACS Nano on Jan. 27, found that mice with cancer but treated with the nanomedicine lived for six months; which is the equivalent of 25 human years.

Despite advancements in cancer research, the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre says that many women do not seek medical help. These women are usually from ethnic groups who believe that cancer is incurable and down to fate.