The stress of having a loved one battle cancer can take a toll on the family. Now there is an indication the risk of psychiatric disorders may be higher in spouses of cancer patients. With more than an estimated 200,000 new U.S. breast cancer cases in 2010 alone, the direct and possible indirect effects of the disease are staggering. A new study, conducted in Denmark, screened over a million men over a period of 13 years and focused on the association between breast cancer in women and rates of severe depression in their male partners. The authors found the risk of being hospitalized for a mood disorder including major depression, bipolar disease and other mood-altering conditions was 39 percent higher in men whose partner was diagnosed with breast cancer, and even higher if the partner died of the disease, compared to men with unaffected partners. Men whose partners died from breast cancer were 3.6 times more likely be hospitalized with a mood disorder.
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