High-quality Personal Relationships Improve Survival in Women with Breast Cancer
OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The quality of a woman's social networks--the personal relationships that surround an individual--appears to be just as important as the size of her networks in predicting breast cancer survival, Kaiser Permanente scientists report in the current issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Previous research has shown that women with larger social networks--including spouses or partners, female relatives, friends, religious and social ties, and ties to the community through volunteering--have better breast cancer survival. This study is among the first to show that the quality of those relationships also is important to survival.
The study included 2,264 women who were diagnosed with early-stage, invasive breast cancer between 1997 and 2000, and who were part of the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study. After providing information on their personal relationships, they were characterized as socially isolated (few ties), moderately integrated, or socially integrated (many ties).
"We found that women with small social networks had a significantly higher risk of mortality than those with large networks," said Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and lead author of the study.
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