Romantic relationships have helped women recover more promptly from breast cancer

According to a new study by American scientists published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, women who have survived breast cancer feel happier and recover more quickly from the disease if they are in a romantic relationship. The relationship itself is not a panacea, the authors note, but it is not directly related to the reduction of psychophysiological stress and markers of inflammation in the body - it contributes to overall health, especially in those who have survived breast cancer.

The study involved 139 women who had undergone cancer, their mean age being 55 years. The participants filled out questionnaires and submitted blood samples for analysis. One questionnaire collected data on their degree of happiness, how comfortable their relationships were - this is how scientists assessed women's satisfaction with their relationships. The second questionnaire was used to assess the level of psychological stress. Blood was analyzed for the content of four proteins associated with inflammation - the researchers compared these indicators with the survey results.

It turned out that the more women were satisfied with their relationship with their partner, the less stress and inflammation they felt. 

The authors note that although the results of this study relate to breast cancer survivors, they may also be relevant for people who are coping with other diseases. Long-lasting stress and chronic inflammation are known to be associated with many health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease, with accelerated aging. And romantic relationships, in turn, can help reduce stress and inflammation.

Scientists emphasize that loneliness and family conflicts can have devastating effects on the health of patients who have survived a serious illness, so it is important to strengthen love and family ties and have the support of friends to recover faster.

June 3, 2020, 3:12 p.m.

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