Women with melanoma fare better than men: study

Wed May 2, 2012 5:46am IST

Related Topics

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

(Reuters) - Women diagnosed with melanoma are more likely to survive the skin cancer than men and less likely to have it recur, according to a European study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, support earlier research showing that women are less likely to die from melanoma, the deadliest of the skin cancers.

Researchers suggested that biological differences between the sexes might influence how the body deals with the cancer, although a definitive explanation on the better outcome for women remains uncertain.

Lead author Arjen Joosse, who is completing his PhD at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and his team looked at four clinical trials that melanoma patients had joined.

The more than 2,600 study participants were followed for two to 12 years. Over time, 366 of the men and 267 of the women died.

This meant women were 30 percent less likely to die from any cause during the time studied, and also about 30 percent less likely to die from the melanoma than men. They were also 30 percent less likely to have a relapse.

"Our first conclusion is indeed it's something biological," Joosse told Reuters Health.

Earlier studies had hinted that behaviors explained the differences between men and women - such as women being perhaps more likely to visit their doctor after noticing changes on their skin, and being diagnosed with cancer earlier as well as having thinner tumors.

But even when the researchers took into account the thickness of the tumors, they found that women still had a 30 percent advantage over men in the progression of the disease.

"Once somebody has melanoma, we absolutely believe that men and women deal with it differently, in general," said Vernon Sondak, chair of the department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center and a professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

The obvious potential explanation was estrogen, Joosse said - but if estrogen were responsible, then post-menopausal women, who have low estrogen levels, should have a smaller advantage over men in their age group than younger women have over younger men.

But older women still held to their advantage, the group said, adding that more research is needed.

Sondak said genes might have something to do with Joosse's findings, adding that because the causes of men's poor melanoma outcomes are unknown, stressing the behaviors that are known to prevent cancer and promote earlier detection are important.

"Behavior is something we can modify. Awareness is something we can increase. Genes are a little harder to change," he said. SOURCE: bit.ly/Imd61t

(Reporting from New York by Kerry Grens at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies and Bob Tourtellotte)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Ebola Outbreak

Reuters Showcase

Record Earnings

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

Motor Racing

Motor Racing

Force India to miss Jerez F1 test  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Djokovic, Wawrinka set up epic showdown, ill Serena through  Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Hostage Case

Hostage Case

Jordan proposes prisoner swap, fate of Japanese IS hostage unclear  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage