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An interesting study published in the journal Cancer found a correlation between serious illness and divorce and/or separation rates. Apparently, women are much more likely to be left by their men when they are diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis than if their male partners were facing the same illness.
The research, conducted by a team led by Marc Chamberlain, director of the neuro-oncology program at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), determined that the divorce or separation rate among cancer patients is 11.6%, which is similar to the general population. But the rate was 20.8% when the woman was affected versus 2.9% when the man was sick.
The conclusion: Females face a much higher risk to be divorced when diagnosed with a serious illness than males.
“Female gender was the strongest predictor of separation or divorce in each of the patient groups we studied,” said Chamberlain. “We don’t actually know whether the patients were in discord or distress already, but we know they were married at the time of entry into the study. We have no idea whether there was any pre-existing discord.”
Chamberlain noted the study was started as physicians noticed that divorce occurred almost exclusively when the wife was the patient, but in all cases the woman was more likely to end up alone.
The study was based on 515 patients.