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HHS HealthBeat (March 15, 2011)

Strong ties against breast cancer

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study of breast cancer patients indicates that women with strong social ties – especially to their husbands and other family members --- do better than women with weak ties. Researcher Meira Epplein of Vanderbilt University saw it in almost five years of data on more than 2,200 patients:

``Women with the highest scores in social well-being had a significant 38 percent decreased risk of death and a 48 percent decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence.’’ (9 seconds)

Social well-being was measured at six months after diagnosis.

Epplein studied women in Shanghai, China, but says the findings could apply to Americans, too.

The study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011