Social connections can help women beat breast cancer


2016-12-15 05:02

Researchers have found that women who have a greater number of social connections have a higher rate of survival from breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a devastating condition. However with aggressive treatment and a positive attitude cure rates for breast cancer can be impressive. Being well connected socially can help a woman beat breast cancer.

There are higher rates of survival for women with invasive breast cancer in women with the most ties socially

Kaiser Permanente reported there are higher rates of survival for women with invasive breast cancer in women with the most ties socially. Such social ties include a consideration of spouses, friendships, family members, and community ties.

The researchers observed that socially integrated women had death rates and disease recurrence rates which were significantly lower than women who were socially isolated. Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, who is a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente and lead author of this study, says it has been well established there is lower risk of death overall in women who have more social ties, and this includes women with breast cancer. This study demonstrates the positive influence of women’s social ties on breast cancer outcomes.

Socially isolated women were 43 percent more likely to experience a recurrence of breast cancer

The researchers investigated how a range of factors dealing with lifestyle which included diet, exercise, weight management and social factors, influence breast cancer survivorship. It was found that socially isolated women were 43 percent more likely to experience a recurrence of breast cancer than socially integrated women. The socially isolated women also were 64 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and 69 percent more likely to die from any cause. This study supports previous research by Kroenke and colleagues who observed that positive social interactions are associated with a higher quality of life in breast cancer patients;

This study has been published in the journal Cancer. An association has been found between larger social networks and better overall and breast cancer survival. Women should be encouraged to nurture a strong social support system to help themselves live longer and to enjoy a higher quality of life.