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The association between marital status and treatment initiation in lung cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlotte RichardsonORCiD, Professor Linda Sharp, Professor Adam ToddORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The AuthorsLung cancer is associated with high mortality, and significant health burden. Marital status has been associated with lung cancer survival. This systematic review and meta-analysis set out to investigate the association between marital status and treatment receipt in lung cancer. The search was conducted across three databases: Medline (OVID), Embase and CINAHL, from inception to June 2022. Retrospective or prospective observational studies that quantified treatment receipt by marital status were eligible for inclusion. Study quality was assessed via a modified checklist for retrospective databased-based studies. Meta-analysis using a random effects model was undertaken by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, and any treatment relative to married or not married. Pooled unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for each type of treatment. 837 papers were screened and 18 met the inclusion criteria with eight being eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Studies were excluded from meta-analysis due to overlap in the data reported in papers; the mean quality score of the 18 included papers was 12/17. Being married was associated with increased odds of overall treatment OR 1.43 (95 % CI 1.14–1.79; I2 = 82 %; Tau 2 = 0.07; six studies) and also increased receipt of: chemotherapy 1.40 (95 % CI 1.35–1.44; I2 = 82 %; Tau 2 = 0.00); radiotherapy 1.29 (95 % CI 0.96–1.75; I2 = 100 %; Tau 2= 0.09; four studies) and surgery (95 % CI 1.31–1.52; I2 = 86 %; Tau 2 = 0.00; five studies). The results indicate that those who are married are more likely to receive treatment for lung cancer compared to those who are not married. This requires further investigation to better understand the explanations behind this finding and how we can work to combat this inequality.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Richardson CL, Saeed M, Sharp L, Todd A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Epidemiology

Year: 2023

Volume: 87

Print publication date: 01/12/2023

Online publication date: 21/11/2023

Acceptance date: 10/11/2023

Date deposited: 11/12/2023

ISSN (print): 1877-7821

ISSN (electronic): 1877-783X

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.canep.2023.102494.

PubMed id: 37992417


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