I just returned, along with Malecare’s Executive Director Darryl Mitteldorf and Dr. Wendy Lebowitz, from the ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco. The three of us often attend this meeting, but this one had a new and very special item, a research poster (abstract no. 253) that was presented by Malecare and Mitteldorf. The poster written under the auspices of Malecare contradicted the historic belief that men with prostate cancer who are in a stable, married or a long-term partnered relationship have better long-term survival than single males with prostate cancer because they were in the relationship.

When we find that a certain class of people have a better survival than others, it is important to find out why this is the case. In some situations we are then able to use this information to help those men who have a shorter survival. However, the underlying belief must be true and verifiable.

Mitteldorf’’s research concluded that prostate cancer survivorship is not, contrary to prior belief, derived from co-habitation or an involvement in a long-term relationship! In other words, there is not an additional survival tax placed on men with prostate cancer are not co-inhabiting or in a long-term relationship with another person.

Mitteldorf wanted to identify particular items that differed between men with prostate cancer who are single, married, or partnered that conveyed an additional survival advantage. Mitteldorf had a large cohort of men (n=1,760 men derived from the roles of Malecare) who responded to an online survey that examined multiple items such as treatment compliance, life style satisfaction, self-care, times per week they exercised, spirituality and location (this is only a small sample of the items he examined) and then matched the men’s responses to their living situation (living alone, married or partnered).

The survey found that “… being married, partnered or single is irrelevant to prostate cancer survivorship. Our results suggest that we have to look for reasons unrelated to personal relationships and household composition to understand why married men diagnosed with prostate cancer hold a longevity advantage over single men.” (Mitteldorf)

We do know that married or partnered men with prostate cancer live longer than single men, but we now know that there are other factors beyond just being married or partnered, which are yet to be identified, that contribute to this fact. This  study opens up a lot of additional questions and debunks what now seems to be a myth, married or partnered men life longer because they are married or partnered.

Malecare is proud to make another significant contribution to the prostate cancer community. Malecare is proud to be the only prostate cancer education and support organization to perform original, psycho-social research that helps us to better understand our community. Malecare is proud of our Executive Director, Darryl Mitteldorf for performing this groundbreaking research and we are very proud of our members who responded to his request for information. A survey response of 1,760 men is unheard of, especially when you factor in that the survey was complex and no compensation was offered to the respondents. Simply put, Malecare is proud.