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Having friends helps improve the chances of breast cancer survival

A recent study of breast cancer patients in China found that having a strong social network and a high quality of life helped decrease the chances of breast cancer recurrence, according to a new report from the Washington Post.

The research was published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and looked at 2,230 breast cancer patients in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survivor Study from 2002 to 2004.

The scientists found that women with the highest scores in a measure of social well-being had a 38 percent lower risk of mortality and a 48 percent lower risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to those who had the lowest scores.

"It's very exciting, because we believe social quality of life is modifiable - it's something that we can change," said Meira Epplein, the lead author and a professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Other studies have shown that regular exercise is linked to a decreased risk of breast cancer, while gardening and spending time outdoors increases positive mental health and lowers depression in breast cancer survivors.
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