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Skin cancer deaths 70% higher in men

By Tim Sandle     Aug 25, 2013 in Health
Seventy percent more men in the U.K. are dying from malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, than women.
The BBC reports that malignant melanoma death rates have been increasing in the UK since the early 1970s, largely because more people are developing the disease. However, new data suggests that the rate of fatalities contains a gender difference.
Figures released from the charity Cancer Research show that death rates from the disease are 3.4 per 100,000 men compared to 2 per 100,000 women. In terms of actual cases, some 1,300 of the 6,200 men who develop the disease each year died of it compared to 900 of the 6,600 women (based on cases from 2011). Therefore the death rates are higher in men despite the fact that approximately the same numbers of men and women are diagnosed with the condition every year.
Different reasons have been put forward to explain the contrasting rates. One possible reason is that men are being diagnosed later than women (which could be attitudinal, with men less likely to visit a doctor). A second reason is that melanomas more often develop in different areas — on the arms and legs in women and back and chest for men - which may make the disease harder to spot, which delays the diagnosis.
A third reason could be a biological one, The Times reports. The biological reason is of interest to scientists at Cancer Research and a team are working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways.
Julia Newton-Bishop, of Cancer Research, is quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying: "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."
More about Skin cancer, Death, Gender, Men, Women
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