Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-quality personal relationships improve survival in women with breast cancer

Date:
November 9, 2012
Source:
Kaiser Permanente
Summary:
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.

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.

The study found that socially isolated women were 34 percent more likely to die from breast cancer or other causes than socially integrated women. Specifically, larger social networks were "unrelated to recurrence or breast cancer mortality, (they) were associated with lower mortality from all causes," the authors wrote.

Researchers measured levels of social support from friends and family using a survey that asked women to rate the quality of their relationships on a five-point scale within the past week. For example, the questions included, "My family has accepted my illness," "family communication about my illness is poor," and "I feel distant from my friends." Based on their survey results, the women were additionally characterized as having high or low levels of social support.

The study found that levels of support within relationships were important risk factors for breast cancer mortality. "Women with small networks and high levels of support were not at greater risk than those with large networks, but those with small networks and low levels of support were," Kroenke said. In fact, women with small networks and low levels of support were 61 percent more likely to die from breast cancer and other causes than those with small networks and high levels of support.

"We also found that when family relationships were less supportive, community and religious ties were critical to survival. This suggests that both the quality of relationships, rather than just the size of the network, matters to survival, and that community relationships matter when relationships with friends and family are less supportive."

The women were recruited primarily from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cancer Registry (83 percent) and the Utah Cancer Registry (12 percent), and enrolled in the study between 11 and 39 months post-diagnosis. After an average of 11 years post-diagnosis, 410 women had died from all causes and 215 from breast cancer.

The study suggests that interventions designed to help women with breast cancer improve the quality of their relationships could have an impact on breast cancer outcomes, Kroenke noted. "Women in the LACE study also gained health advantages from developing community and religious ties."

This study was funded by National Cancer Institute Grant No. R01CA129059, Molecular Profiles and Lifestyle Factors in Breast Cancer Prognosis (LACE3).

Co-authors of the study were Charles Quesenberry, PhD, Marilyn L. Kwan, PhD, Adrienne Castilllo, MS, RD, and Bette J. Caan, DrPH, of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research; and Carol Sweeney, PhD, of the University of Utah Division of Epidemiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kaiser Permanente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Candyce H. Kroenke, Yvonne Michael, Hilary Tindle, Elizabeth Gage, Rowan Chlebowski, Lorena Garcia, Catherine Messina, JoAnn E. Manson, Bette J. Caan. Social networks, social support and burden in relationships, and mortality after breast cancer diagnosis. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2012; 133 (1): 375 DOI: 10.1007/s10549-012-1962-3

Cite This Page:

Kaiser Permanente. "High-quality personal relationships improve survival in women with breast cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109091158.htm>.
Kaiser Permanente. (2012, November 9). High-quality personal relationships improve survival in women with breast cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109091158.htm
Kaiser Permanente. "High-quality personal relationships improve survival in women with breast cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109091158.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins