Marriage: a key to surviving cancer

According to this USA TODAY article, married patients are more likely to survive cancer and cancer treatments.
Scientists say they may have found the key to surviving cancer: marriage.
Married people with cancer were 20% less likely to die from their disease, compared to people who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married, according to study published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Married people in the study fared better than singles no matter what type of cancer. In certain types of tumors — prostate, breast, colorectal, esophageal and head/neck cancers — the survival benefits of marriage were larger than those from chemotherapy.

"Improving social support for our patients may be equally important as providing effective therapy, and it is less costly to develop and implement," said senior author Paul Nguyen, a radiation oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, in a statement....
I am glad to see a growing awareness in our medical industry that each of us is a unity of body, mind, spirit, and emotions, and that if the medical industry is really are interested in healing us that there is more involved in this than simply bio-chemical treatments of certain isolated bits of our bodies (such limited ways of thinking no doubt reflect the highly fragmented, and compartmentalized world in which we live).

I am convinced that marriage is one of God's great gifts to Mankind - to strengthen our ability to love (and to learn what "love" really means); to enter into "deep community" with one who is truly an "other" as woman is to man and man to woman; to grow in personal maturity; and to experience healing in our souls and bodies.  Though I (with all Methodists) don't consider it a Dominical Sacrament on the level of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, I do believe Holy Matrimony is a divinely-instituted rite and institution with a sacramental character, that really can be a means of God's grace in our lives.  In fact I personally had a minor ailment that spontaneously cleared away when I got married.

I also firmly believe that the decline of marriage in our culture is a sign that we are not more mature, more courageous, and more loving than previous ages, but (if anything) less so.  It takes virtues like charity, justice, temperance, patience, chastity and courage to make a marriage work over the long haul, and I am afraid that as a society we have not been trained up in these virtues, but rather in consumeristic individualistic indulgence and instant gratification ("obey your thirst" and "have it your way" and "just do it" are the marketing slogans I was perpetually bombarded with growing up).  Teaching the virtues required for deep relationship in a society of individualistic consumerism and social media is, I believe, one of the great vocations of the church in this era (which is related to my opposition to "online communion" that has been much discussed of late: because it adds an element of artifice and thereby makes more shallow what has always been a face-to-face experience).

It is also worth noting that divorce is bad for the environment, but marriage is good for the economy.  These are, I believe, further indications that Marriage is a key to the Shalom (holistic Peace) that the Lord intends for his whole creation - which in turn is another reason we should not take lightly the meaning and definition of Marriage itself.  

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