Research Shows Ovarian Cancer Patients with Social Support Live Longer

07/19/2012
Research published July 16th in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that greater social attachment was associated with a lower likelihood of death for ovarian cancer patients.

A group of researchers, including senior author and OCRF grantee Anil Sood, MD examined how social support related to long term survival.  Two types of social support were considered:  social attachment, a type of emotional support reflecting connections with others, and instrumental social support, which reflects the availability of tangible assistance.

The analysis of 168 ovarian cancer patients, who were followed from surgery until the time of death, showed that greater social attachment was associated with a lower likelihood of death.  59% of patients with high social attachment were still alive after 4.70 years.  By contrast, the median survival time for patients with low social attachment categorized was 3.35 years.

No significant association was found between instrumental social support and survival.

The authors conclude that “Social attachment is associated with a survival advantage for patients with ovarian cancer. Clinical implications include the importance of screening for deficits in the social environment and consideration of support activities during adjuvant treatment.”

Click here to read the complete abstract.