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Study shows men more likely to leave women during cancer

A recent study uncovered the fact that cancer causes an increased likelihood that a couple will seek a divorce. This is especially true when the one stricken with the illness is female.

Upon the release of these findings, an oncologist at the Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said that once a spouse is diagnosed with cancer, especially a woman, the other spouse immediately begins to distance themselves emotionally, even when it is a very treatable type of cancer. This is most common among young husbands and wives and it often leads to a divorce.

The study was conducted by the University of Utah Medical School in 2009 and examined 500 patients with various types of cancers. These individuals proved that couples involving a cancer patient are far more likely to split up compared to non-cancer couples. While that trend might not come as a complete shock, a disparity among genders might.

If the cancer patient is female, the marriage is seven times more likely to break up. This indicates that men are far more likely to abandon their wives in that great time of need.

Some health professionals suggest that this is the case because husbands often have certain expectations for their wives and what duties they provide in order to be considered a stereotypical good wife. When cancer hinders a woman from meeting these expectations, it creates a conflict with her husband and sometimes they might feel like the ones who were initially abandoned.

But regardless of gender, most marriages will experience their rough patches when one spouse goes through the trying process of cancer. However, just as many individuals might abandon their spouse in this great time of need, many also show unwavering support.

Source: ABC News, "In Sickness and in Health - Does a Cancer Diagnosis Up Divorce Risk?" Courtney Hutchison, Oct. 6, 2011

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