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Childhood Cancer Survivors Less Likely to Marry

Double bad luck: people who have cancer as children are less likely to marry than those who don't. Around 70% of Americans marry by the time they are 30 years old. But not childhood cancer survivors. Only half of them do, according to a large follow-up study reported today.

Why not? Short stature, poor physical functioning, and cognitive problems are the factors more common among the people who remain unmarried. These known side effects of chemotherapy and radiation may make it harder to find a mate.

Fortunately, childhood cancer doesn't hurt anyone's ability to keep a marriage going. The divorce rate was no different for those treated for cancer as kids than for their siblings or the general population.

Nina S. Kadan-Lottick, M.D., M.S.P.H., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, led this study of the effects of childhood cancer treatment on marriages, which was reported in today's Science Daily. It followed up on 10,000 children with cancer, treated at 26 different institutions, after they reached adulthood.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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