In a study published in Cancer on December 12, 2016 researchers studies 9267 women in the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project. They were interested in determining the post diagnosis social networks and breast cancer mortality of the group. Data was provided within 2 years after diagnosis and social networks included spouses/partners, religious ties, community ties, friendship ties, and numbers of living first-degree relatives. Cox models were used to evaluate associations, and a meta-analysis was used to determine whether effect estimates differed by cohort. Stratification by demographics, social, tumor, and treatment factors were evaluated. Of interest are the following: Of the socially isolated breast cancer patients 43% had increased risk of recurrence of breast cancer, 64% had increased risk of dying from of breast cancer, and 69% had increased risk of dying from other causes than socially integrated women. In addition, not all types of social ties were beneficial to the women. For example, older white women without a spouse/partner were 37% more likely to die from breast cancer than older white women with one but this was not true for other demographic groups. In contrast, non-white women with few friendships were 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than those with many friendship ties, and non-white women with fewer relatives were 33% more likely to die of breast cancer than those with many relatives and this was not identified in white women. So there were differences in the social networks and breast cancer among different demographic groups.
A 2000 study in life science concluded that social isolation stress enhances tumor metastasis in part by its suppressive effect on the immune system. Researchers found increases in the colony number and tumor burden in mice socially isolated before and/or after tumor cell challenge, as compared with the group-housed mice.
In 2006, a study by us epidemiologist Candyce Kroenke et al reported that women who were most socially isolated before they were diagnosed with breast cancer were twice as likely to die from the disease as women with the strongest social network.
In a 2009 a study reported in cancer prevention research researchers reported that social isolation may make cancer more deadly by modifying the biology of the disease and lead to significant differences in outcomes. They worked with mice genetically predisposed to mammary gland cancer. Researchers
Found changes in the activity of genes that play a role in tumour growth in the stressed animals, suggesting that they may have been directly influenced by surging levels of stress hormones.
In 2010 another study reported that some lonely people diagnosed with colorectal cancer produce higher levels of a protein associated with cancer progression. .
Another study in 2010 in plos medicine concluded that from a review of 148 studies they founds a 50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships. This finding remained consistent across age, sex, initial health status, cause of death, and follow-up period
A 2012 prospective study published in the journal of clinical oncology concluded that social attachment offered a survival advantage to ovarian cancer patients. One hundred sixty eight patients with histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer were . Observed from the date of surgery to death or 2010. Subjects were recruited during a presurgical visit and completed surveys before surgery. Clinical data was also collected from records. The median survival time for subjects with low social attachment was 3.35 years (2.56-4.15) compared with high social survival group of 59 percent survival after 4.70 years at the end of the study
Another study carried out in 2015 at the University of Missouri followed breast cancer survivors 30 months after treatment. Results showed that certain themes related to long term survivor included social support, positive world views, literacy about breast cancer and lymphodemia, spiritual beliefs, expectations of recovery, and self empowerment. Findings were consistent with a psychoneuroimmunological model of health in which psychosocial variables influence stress and health outcomes.