Cancer and Divorce

Cervical and testicular cancer patients have a much higher risk of broken marriages, a Norwegian study found. The study said that wives with cervical cancer are 40 percent more likely to divorce than healthy women and husbands with testicular cancer are 20 percent more likely.

Researchers say these cancers often affect younger patients, who could be vulnerable to the stress that naturally follows a diagnosis. In contrast, older couples have been together longer and may be more committed. These cancers are also more likely to derange plans for parenthood, and these cancers may be more damaging because sexual relationships are important in cementing a marriage.

“It seems to be worse for your marriage to get cancer early,” said Astri Syse, who led the study from the Norwegian Cancer Registry.

Researchers looked at data on 2.8 million people in Norway from 1974 to 2001, including 215,000 cancer survivors. Then they compared the divorce rates of the survivors with couples who were cancer-free. Overall, cancer patients had lower rates of divorce than other couples. But when they looked at specific malignancies, cervical and testicular were exceptions.

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