Melanoma death rate rising in men, finds study

Melanoma death rate rising in men, finds study
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Washington: A study has revealed that deaths due to Melanoma or skin cancer are on the rise amongst men while in some countries the rates are steady or falling for women.

The research was presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference, which included a study of worldwide data on deaths between 1985 and 2015 gathered by the World Health Organisation, with a focus on 33 countries.

They extracted the rates for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and compared the rates for men and women by looking at trends over time.

The researchers believe that more research is required to understand the trend, however efforts to raise awareness amongst men is the need of the hour.

One of the presenters of the research, Dorothy Yang, said that the major risk factor for melanoma is “overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from sun exposure or from using sunbeds”.

“Despite public health efforts to promote awareness of melanoma and encourage sun-smart behaviours, melanoma incidence has been increasing in recent decades. However, some new reports have identified signs of stabilisation and decline in melanoma death rates in places like Australia and Northern Europe,” said Yang.

“We wanted to conduct an up-to-date analysis of recent melanoma mortality rates across the world to try to understand these patterns, and whether new diagnosis, treatment and prevention strategies are having any effect,” she added.

According to the study, the rates were higher in men than in women. Overall, the highest three-year average death rates for 2013 to 2015 were found in Australia (5.72 per 100,000 men and 2.53 per 100,000 in women) and Slovenia (3.86 in men and 2.58 in women), with the lowest in Japan (0.24 in men and 0.18 in women).

Whereas, Israel and the Czech Republic experienced the largest decreases in mortality rates in women, 23.4% and 15.5% respectively.

Also, Czech Republic was the only country where a decrease in men’s melanoma death rate was found, with an annual percentage decrease of 0.7% between 1985 and 2015.

Yang even said that men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or even engage with melanoma awareness and prevention campaigns. “There is also ongoing work looking for any biological factors underlying the difference in mortality rates between men and women,” she added.