Cancer divorce rates show women are more able to care

Those about to undergo cancer treatment may be reassured to know that divorce rates among patients are largely similar to those in general population.

However, a study into the so-called "partner abandonment" found that women are six times more likely to stand by their man than husbands are to care for their wives.

According to the research from the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah School of Medicine, the divorce rate is much higher when the woman is the patient.

In around a fifth (20.8 per cent) of such cases, the marriage ends in divorce or separation, while the figure stands at just 2.9 per cent when the male is the patient.

Part of the reason behind it, according to the study published in the November 15th edition of the journal Cancer, is that men are less able to rapidly adapt their commitments of becoming a caregiver.

The researchers believe the findings could apply to all kinds of serious illness.

"We recommend that medical providers be especially sensitive to early suggestions of marital discord in couples affected by the occurrence of a serious medical illness, especially when the woman is the affected spouse and it occurs early in the marriage," the study advised.

Meanwhile, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently revealed that he has been battling chronic myeloid leukaemia - a form of blood cancer - for around a year.

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