Achieve important goals in life despite a cancer diagnosis

A cancer illness does not increase the possibility of divorce, shows Astri Syse’s thesis at the Cancer Registry of Norway. The illness does not either seem to reduce the possibility of marriage.

A cancer illness does not increase the possibility of divorce, shows Astri Syse’s thesis at the Cancer Registry of Norway. The illness does not either seem to reduce the possibility of marriage.

This Ph.D also shows that the chance of having children is reduced by 25% after a cancer diagnosis. There is also a 30-40% lower chance that the patient is working after the diagnosis.” First and foremost the study shows that people who have gotten a cancer diagnosis are still capable of reaching important goals in life, even after sickness and treatment,” says Research fellow Astri Syse.

In the PhD she has utilized, among other sources, data from the Cancer Registry to see how cancer influences a number of life situations. The work is financed by the Cancer Society and in collaboration with Øistein Kravdal and Steinar Tretli.

Lower rates

The rates are lower after diagnosis for patients with a poor prognosis. “It’s near to presume that this is because many find it unsatisfactory to leave a relationship when one’s spouse is in such a critical situation. It may also be that the partners experience a strengthening of the relationship due to the circumstances,” says Syse.

However, among those with cancer of the cervix or testis far more divorces were observed, despite these being the least aggressive cancer types. This is perhaps because these illnesses can lead to changes in sexual- and intimate behavior; this due to type of treatment given and other details in the clinical picture. This patient group also is the youngest at diagnosis, which may play a part.

Reduced fertility

All in all the probability of having children after a cancer diagnosis is reduced by 25%. However, this varies from zero to almost 80% depending on the cancer type and stage of illness. The reduction is greatest in those who have cancer in organs linked to reproduction, which suggests that the illness directly influences the possibility of becoming pregnant or carrying out a pregnancy.

“A reduction is also seen in patients with cancer in organs that are not associated with reproduction, which indicates that psycho-social factors also must be considered,” says Syse.

Among persons with a cancer diagnosis we see that the probability of being employed is clearly reduced. Even so, most stay employed. The average income is reduced by 12% in persons who have had cancer.