I will never forget the husband of one of my breast cancer patients. The man asked to speak to me alone and between sobs he demanded that I reaffirm that his wife was going to be cured. He confided to me that he had been married to her for more than 20 years and that he loved her above all things, but that this “cancer blow” was too much for him, that he was afraid of his own reaction and that he did not know what was going to happen. with your marriage. The sincerity of that man left an indelible impression on me.
A study published in the journal “Cancer” – the only one of its kind so far – looks at what happens when . What is the behavior of the healthy couple? Are you still in the marriage or are you seeking separation and divorce?
The investigation was carried out in a total of 515 patients, all of them married at the time the investigation began, 53% were women and 47% men. A total of 214 patients had a primary brain cancer, 193 a tumor that did not affect the brain and 108 with multiple sclerosis, a disabling and fatal disease of the central nervous system. Patients were followed for 14 months from enrollment, until death or completion of the study.
The results indicated that divorce or separation occurred in 60 of the 515 marriages (11.6%), a rate similar to that reported in the medical literature when separation and divorce rates are compared in cancer patients compared to the general population.
The shocking thing is that divorces and separations did not occur with the same frequency when it was the man or the woman who got sick. In that sense, the man was seven times more likely to leave the woman when she was ill than that which occurred when the man who became ill was (20.8% vs. 2.9%). This increased to almost 11 times if she got brain cancer.
“The authors conclude that, along with gender, the duration of the marriage plays an important role in the possibility of abandonment.”
In other words, in 88% of the separations, the affected partner was the woman, as it occurred in 78% of cases of brain tumors, 93% of cases of cancers of other organs, and 96% of patients with multiple sclerosis. The data indicated a higher probability of divorce and separation when the patients had frontal lobe tumors, a situation that may reflect a reaction to the severe behavioral changes commonly observed in these patients.
On the positive side, it was seen that the longer the marriage, the less the possibility of abandonment of the couple. In this sense, the couples who stayed together had been married an average of 27.4 to 15.4 years compared to between 14.4 and 9.5 years for those who separated.
The authors conclude that, along with gender, the duration of the marriage plays an important role in the possibility of abandonment of the couple if serious illness occurs.
Regarding the causes, the authors cite some studies that suggest that men are less able to play a caregiving role and bear the burdens of maintaining the home and family compared to women.
When a human being faces a serious situation, they defend themselves or use one of the eight coping strategies.
The confrontational coping tries to turn things around aggressively, reacting hostilely to his partner’s illness. In it distancing an emotional withdrawal from the situation occurs, minimizing what is happening, pretending that there is no need to worry too much. With the self control it is about controlling emotions, always trying to keep your composure. With the social help seeking, seek information and help from friends and family. In the acceptance of responsibility, the role of taking control of the situation is exaggerated and with a lot of effort they take charge of finances, housework, etc. In it exhaust, escapes from the situation using fantasies and falling into the abuse of alcohol and drugs. In the planned problem resolution reaction, the couple becomes an “analyst” of the situation, thinking that everything has a rational solution, planning each of the daily activities. Finally, in the positive reappraisaladvantage is taken of the couple’s illness to improve the spiritual life of both.
“We had to go through this experience to improve as human beings” is the most common expression and it is common for you to find the peace of mind you are looking for in religion.
Men who used escape more frequently had poorer mental health, much more stress, and signs of depression, while those who also used distancing and acceptance of responsibility had not only higher levels of stress and depression, but also higher frequency. of marital dissatisfaction.
It is important to ask ourselves this question: how will I react if my partner is diagnosed with cancer? What kind of strategy would you use to deal with the problem? How would the disease affect my relationship? Have I ever discussed this topic with my partner?
I am a highly experienced and well-connected journalist, with a focus on healthcare news. I have worked for several major news outlets, and currently work as an author at 24 news recorder. My work has been featured in many prestigious publications, and I have a wide network of contacts in the healthcare industry. I am highly passionate about my work, and strive to provide accurate and timely information to my readers.