Men suffering a higher death rate from melanomas

DEATH rates from the most serious type of skin cancer are 70 per cent higher in men than women, despite similar numbers being diagnosed with the disease each year, figures reveal today.

The charity Cancer Research UK said 3.4 men per 100,000 compared with two women per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma in the UK each year even though numbers of cases are similar with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.

Of 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, while 900 of
the 6,600 women who develop it die.

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The gap is predicted to widen in the future, with death rates on the increase in men but remaining stable for women.

Since the early 1970s, death rates in men have increased by 185 per cent compared with a rise of only 55 per cent in women.

Prof Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist from Leeds University, 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 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.

“If melanoma does develop on your back then it may be more difficult to spot – asking your partner to check your back is a good idea.”