London: Chronic bachelors, please take note: Unmarried people are twice as likely to die of cancer than those who live with their partners, claims a new study.
Norwegian researchers who looked at cancer death rates over 40 years found that men and women who had never married were more likely to die from 13 of the most common types of cancer, including lung, breast and prostate.
But the increased death rate, they found, was most stark in unmarried men over the age of 70, and it`s been increasing every decade, the Daily Mail reported.
For the study, the University of Oslo researchers looked at the records of 440,000 people diagnosed with cancer from 1970 to 2007, and compared them with marital status.
They found that those who were unmarried when diagnosed, rather than being divorced or widowed, doubled the death rate in men from 18 to 35 per cent and in women more modestly from 17 to 22 per cent.
Past studies have already shown that married people have better health and live longer than singletons, as they tend not to smoke and drink heavily, and have better mental health.
The Norwegian researchers said this is likely to be a factor in cancer death rates. They also suggested that married people are probably diagnosed earlier as they tend to visit the doctor more and may comply better with treatment as they have a spouse to support them.
Mortality rates for unmarried men have gone up by 3.4 per cent every decade compared with those who are married. For divorced and widowed men, the death rate is slightly higher than married men but not as high as bachelors.
Dr Safia Danovi, from Cancer Research UK, said: "Cancer survival is a complex issue and there may be many reasons for these findings.
"Early diagnosis is still key to beating cancer so people should visit their doctor as soon as they notice a change that is unusual for them, whether they`re married or not."