CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Could having a healthy marriage help you beat cancer?
According to one new study, it might.
One Heartland couple said their marriage is helping them through their journey with kidney cancer.
Sharon Welker was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer more than a year ago, but she's not going through it alone.
"It's not me who has the cancer," Sharon Welker said. "WE have the cancer."
"It was a total shock, because we were just talking about retirement, and we both decided this isn't time for that," Brad Welker, Sharon's husband, said.
During a CT scan doctors found a large tumor.
With her husband by her side, she went through surgery and now three different types of chemotherapy.
"We knew that we're going to truly have challenges," she said. "Ups and downs."
The reality can be a scary one, but a study from the Cancer Institute of California found that a happy marriage may help you fight the disease.
Take a look at these numbers.
Unmarried men were 22 percent more likely to die from common cancers, and unmarried women were at about 14 percent.
"I draw my strength from my husband, and I feel we probably both draw strength from each other," Sharon said.
Something the Welkers' say they've been doing for more than forty years. They have also recently renewed their vows.
It's not just Brad; her whole family is behind her, making shirts and wristbands to show their support.
The study found if you are single and going through treatment it's important to find a support system.
Sharon's journey with cancer is not over.
Soon she will begin another round of chemotherapy.
Sharon hopes her treatment will have a positive outcome. Her recent tests seem to be positive.
"I hope so," Sharon said. "That's something we never give up hope. Miracles happen every day. We go one day at a time. No one fights alone"