A recent study found that being married can boost your chances of surviving cancer—and cancer patients who are married understand exactly why that is, writes Virginia Postrel on Bloomberg View. "Friends are nice, but they are rarely equivalent to a spouse. The level of on-call commitment and intimacy is simply different. Your spouse knows you in a 24/7 way that few if any others do," she writes, and that becomes crucially important when you're fighting a serious illness.
The truth is, your life is most likely to improve if you get married, Postrel continues, but "people don’t like to hear that. It’s not fair to single people. It’s not constructive." These days in the US, marriage is "the big sociological divide," with high-income white people much more likely to be married. That's probably why, in their press release about the study, researchers suggested unmarried cancer patients reach out to friends or support groups. "But trying to turn the study’s findings into a general call for 'social support' ignores its stark result," Postrel writes. "We shouldn’t pretend that marriage isn’t a huge advantage." Click for her full column. (Read more cancer stories.)