If breast cancer patients are surrounded by people with whom they can have a good time or positive social interactions with, they are more likely to deal better with pain and other physical symptoms of the disease, claims a new study conducted at the Kaiser Permanente in US. Tangible support (such as help with household tasks and errands) was found to be the most useful to those with late-stage cancer.
This is first research of its kind to examine exactly how social relationships influence quality of life in breast cancer patients. Social support mechanisms matter in terms of physical outcomes.
Part of the Pathways study of breast cancer survivorship at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research studied 3,139 female members of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, diagnosed with breast cancer between 2006 and 2011. The study participants were asked questions on their social networks (including friends and relatives, spouse/intimate relationships, and religious, social and community ties).
Those with the highest levels of social integration, a large social network or the personal relationships that surround an individual, reported good overall quality of life during breast cancer treatment. A higher level of social support was found to better emotional quality of life.
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