Skin cancer is 70% more deadly for men: Women have better chance of surviving melanoma



Men are 70 per cent more likely to die from malignant melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – than women, figures suggest.

This is despite similar numbers of men and women being diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK data for 2011 – the most recent available – shows 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma compared with two per 100,000 women.

This means that of the 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, compared with 900 of the 6,600 women.

The likelihood of getting the disease is similar between the sexes, with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.

Since the early 1970s, death rates in men have increased by 185 per cent compared to 55 per cent in women, the charity said.

And it predicts death rates will continue to rise in men while remaining stable in women.

Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, Cancer Research UK dermatologist based at the University of Leeds, said: ‘Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.

‘But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences and we’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways.

‘We also know that men and women tend to develop melanoma in different places – more often on the back and chest for men and on the arms and legs for women.

One of the reasons for the difference (between men and women) may be attitudes towards seeing a doctor.

  1. #1 by hein on August 22, 2013 - 10:48 pm

    Thank you, Ian, and yes, I guess we knew this although having it stated so clearly that in men the greatest incidence is on back and in women on more visible anatomical areas goes a long way to defusing the late diagnosis cause in men: they are no more ‘dr averse’ than anyone else, they simply cannot see their lesions. Hence my preaching on the blog yesterday about the importance of opportunistic chest examination when auscultating chests.

    BTW, talk about ‘things we already know’: Alison, all a-chuckle, pointed out a headline article in some lay newspaper a couple of days ago: “Redheads more likely to develop melanoma”. News to you?

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