MAY 26, 2020 8:05 AM PDT

Does having a child with cancer increase parents' risk of divorce?

A study from Denmark published in the American Cancer Society journal CANCER reports that having a child with cancer does not increase parents’ risk of separation or divorce or affect future family planning. While the study only addresses the emotional impact on families in Denmark, it speaks to the need for the continued support of the family during such troubling times every part of the world.

The study analyzed data from Danish registries that gathered information on families with children with cancer from 1982-2014. The parents of these children were followed until 10 years after the children’s diagnoses, monitoring for separation or divorce. These families results’ were then compared to families with children without cancer. The study was led by Luzius Mader, Ph.D., from the Danish Cancer Society Research Center.  

"Currently, family support services are largely limited to the child's in-patient treatment including support by hospital staff such as social workers or psycho-oncologists as well as through community organizations; however, while more general support services such as marital counseling are widely available, cancer-specific family support services are often lacking after the child's treatment," comments Dr. Mader.

The study’s findings showed that, interestingly, parents of children with cancer had a four percent lower risk of separation and an eight percent lower risk of divorce compared with parents of children without cancer.

Within the group of parents of children with cancer, the results showed that certain demographics were at elevated risk for separation and divorce, namely younger and less educated parents, as well as unemployed parents and those who had children that were diagnosed at a younger age.

Photo: Pixabay

Another unexpected finding from the study was that having a child with cancer did not impede families in Denmark from planning to have more children or postpone such family planning decisions. 

This study showed that for families in Denmark, having a child with cancer was not associated with an overall adverse impact on parents' risk of separation or divorce and future family planning. The authors urge medical practitioners to share these results with their patients’ families.

Sources: CANCER, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
APR 25, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
How Did the Chernobyl Disaster Affect Human Health?
APR 25, 2021
How Did the Chernobyl Disaster Affect Human Health?
It's been about 35 years since the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Now researchers have investigated whet ...
MAY 06, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Improved Genetic Technologies Find Elusive Genetic Mutations
MAY 06, 2021
Improved Genetic Technologies Find Elusive Genetic Mutations
Some genetic diseases are caused by inborn errors - genetic mutations that we're born with and that end up in every cell ...
MAY 09, 2021
Cancer
Vegetarian diet shows low levels of disease-related biomarkers
MAY 09, 2021
Vegetarian diet shows low levels of disease-related biomarkers
Researchers from the University of Glasgow have conducted a study on biomarkers in order to glean more information on th ...
MAY 28, 2021
Cancer
Does your birth control increase your risk of breast cancer?
MAY 28, 2021
Does your birth control increase your risk of breast cancer?
A study published recently in EMBO Molecular Medicine considers the biological impacts of progestins from hormonal contr ...
JUN 06, 2021
Cancer
New drug reduces tumor size in lung cancer patients with KRAS gene mutation
JUN 06, 2021
New drug reduces tumor size in lung cancer patients with KRAS gene mutation
The most recent results from the CODEBREAK 100 phase 2 clinical trial support the use of the drug sotorasib to reduce tu ...
JUN 14, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
JUN 14, 2021
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
The body needs fatty acts for a variety of functions, and the health benefits of taking fatty acid supplements have long ...
Loading Comments...