You might want to sit down for this one, with your lukewarm latte.

Small dog nagging big dog, both sitting on antique blue couch

It’s a good thing you’ve got me, an esteemed psychologist, to keep you up to date on the latest medical research. Sure, I may be a behavioural scientist, but does that really matter?  I still have insights, however ill informed. There’s been so much cancer-relevant research in the news lately, I’m not sure where to start.

If you haven’t already heard, coffee doesn’t cause cancer, but it’s time to stop ordering your latte extra hot. Also, quit sending your soup back because it is not bubbling in your bowl. Turns out by ingesting hot liquids, you may be burning your esophagus, thereby increasing your risk of cancer. Let that coffee cool before you drink it so you can live a long and healthy life. I, for one, like it hot, so I have work to do. Just ask my microwave.

Now that you’ve reconsidered your coffee order, you might want to get married, especially if you’re a guy. A recent study of 60,000 blood cancer patients found that married men survive the longest following a cancer diagnosis. Marriage is associated with longevity for both genders, but especially for men. Single people, and single men in particular, are at higher risk of dying sooner following a diagnosis of cancer.

The researchers related these differences in longevity to the greater social supports that married people have. They suggested cancerous married men’s longevity is attributable to their wives’ nagging. Yes, “nagging” is the word the male researcher used. (Why do only hags nag and not gents? Beats me, but might there be a misogynistic insinuation here?)

I may not be a man, but I’m hopeful about my longevity nonetheless. First off, I cleverly tied the knot two months before I was diagnosed with cancer. Sure, I’m a woman but, because my spouse is too, I am married to someone who assumedly is biologically predisposed to nagging.

And count on me to be eminently naggable (spellcheck scoffed at that word). I leave clutter all around me–in the sink, on tables, on counters, in piles everywhere throughout the house–although I do manage to throw my dirty laundry in the hamper and to replace the cap on the toothpaste tube. If J. nags me, I’m sure I deserve it. And, since I’m a woman, I am biologically predisposed to nag her back, which can be fun sometimes. Consider ours an equal opportunity household when it comes to nagging.

But I doubt this study’s researchers were referring to the protective effects of nagging about uncapped toothpaste tubes. No, it turns out men might not even go to the doctor with concerns or follow through with cancer treatment without a wife to nag them to do so. No wonder that by the time single men seek medical attention, they’re in trouble.

I follow my treatment regimen to the letter–I’m too anxious not to–and I don’t need J. to nag me to see the doctor. But I’ll admit that sometimes she reassures me that I won’t be wasting the doctor’s time if I get checked out for a potentially deadly infection. Thanks to you, J., I’m staying alive, staying alive.

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4 thoughts on “You might want to sit down for this one, with your lukewarm latte.

  1. Good to see that the research community (finally) my nagging habits endorses; maybe even promotes. For the health of my partner I will double my efforts : )

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