The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University's Hospital honored cancer survivors Sunday with a survivor's luncheon at the Lakeveiw Resort in Cheat Lake.
This year's guest speaker, Kevin Murphy, spoke to the nearly 500 survivors and their families about keeping the lines communication open, and talking through the pain, one of his keys to truly succeeding in surviving cancer.
"Believe it or not, the divorce rate is six times higher when a women gets cancer… That's a very frightening number, so I'm trying to see if I can help people put a stop to that," said Author Kevin Murphy.
Murphy was asked to speak after publishing his book, Surviving Cancer after Surviving Cancer.
Murphy said he lost his wife to cancer, but not through the disease but divorce.
"Cancer shuts down communication in many ways," said Murphy. "A lot of people have financial problems with cancer and that's one of the major stressers between a couple, and one of the most difficult things for a man to handle."
Survivor Kathy Teets understands that better than most. While she doesn't know if her diagnosis led to her divorce she knows firsthand the stress it had on her family.
"The first thing you think about is ‘I'm going to die,' and ‘who's going to take care of my kids,' said Teets. "And I think most people think about that, but the hardship on the family, it does effect children, spouses, grandparents, it does take a whole family unit to get through it and sometimes they don't."
Cancer's toll on a family is devastating, a divorce's impact on patients Murphy said can be equally as painful.
Murphy points out that statistics show that having a good support system increases a patients odds at surviving, but divorce only makes it more difficult.
"It's hard enough to beat this disease physically; you have to muster up all your strength and courage… Struggling with your family, with your relationship detracts from that strength that you need," said Murphy.
Murphy's book can be purchased at the Barns and Noble in Morgantown or online at Amazon.