Navigation Links
Surviving Melanoma May Take Different Toll on Women, Men

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The experience of surviving a melanoma may weigh more heavily on the emotional lives of women than men, a new study suggests.

"In clinical practice, this observation may imply that women need additional care, including follow-up and possibly counseling to optimally cope with their melanoma," the authors, led by Dr. Cynthia Holterhues of the department of dermatology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, noted in a news release.

In some respects, however, the study found that female melanoma survivors often took a more positive attitude compared to males.

For example, while female patients were more likely to say that melanoma and the side effects of treatment interfered with their quality of life, they were also more prone to say that the experience had left them wiser and more spiritual.

Women who beat a melanoma were also more likely than their male counterparts to go on to protect themselves and their families from harmful UV radiation, the study found.

"Men might be less aware of general measures of sun protection and need education about these measures after treatment," the authors noted.

The study is published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, melanoma is the most lethal of all skin cancers. However, the disease is curable if caught early enough, before it has spread to the lymph nodes and other tissues and organs.

According to the study authors, that means that 80 percent of melanoma patients face a "relatively good" prognosis. But there's one caveat: all melanoma survivors will face a lifetime risk for disease recurrence.

With that in mind, the research team decided to conduct a survey of more than 560 Dutch melanoma survivors to explore their behaviors, attitudes and overall quality of life.

The participants, 62 percent of whom were women, averaged 57 years of age and had been diagnosed with a melanoma between 1998 and 2007. The survey focused on each person's reaction to their illness up to 10 years after their diagnosis.

All patients were asked to complete both a health status questionnaire as well as an "impact of cancer" survey, to assess how their diagnosis affected them on all fronts: physical, mental, social, existential and medical.

About 70 percent of the melanoma patients had received an stage 1 (early-stage) diagnosis. About a third also struggled with an additional serious medical issue, such as high blood pressure or joint pain.

Overall, the authors found that melanoma survivors did not suffer from a worse health-related quality of life as compared with the general Dutch population. In fact, there was a non-significant trend suggesting that the cancer patients might be in generally better physical health, overall, than people without the skin cancer.

That said, among melanoma survivors women were found to have more serious reactions to the experience than men. Female patients were more likely to suffer from generally worse physical and mental health, the authors noted, and additional indications pointed towards their having a significantly poorer health-related quality of life overall.

Compared with men, women also appeared to experience more pain, numbness and/or itchiness as a side effect of treatment-related scarring.

However, women were also more likely to place an appropriate focus on sun exposure than did men. Women tended to worry more than men about how UV risk might affect them (66 percent vs. 45 percent, respectively) and their family (49 percent vs. 32 percent).

This was associated with women tending to vacation less often than men in sunny locales (67 percent vs. 56 percent), and to seek shade and/or use sunscreen more often (67 percent vs. 48 percent) and more times a day (64 percent vs. 25 percent).

Dr. Darrell. S. Rigel, past president of the American Academy of Dermatology and currently a clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said the findings came as little surprise.

"You see differences even on the front end, when women are much more often than men to be the ones to uncover their melanoma," he noted. "Also, given the fact that melanoma is often a very young disease, with a mean age of 47, I can certainly see how the emotional implications for women would be greater in light of the fact that it often strikes when women have children, and would bring about obvious concerns for them about who's going to take care of their family if their disease returns."

"But on a positive note, I'd say that women are always the leaders when it comes to the health care of their family," Rigel added. "Not just for melanoma, but for everything. So, again, when it comes to prevention and subsequent behavioral changes that should clearly be taken to limit risk after treatment, women are just better, always, than men."

More information

There's more on melanoma at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Darrell. S. Rigel, M.D., F.A.A.D., clinical professor, dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, and past president, American Academy of Dermatology; Feb. 21, 2011, news release, American Medical Association; February 2011 Archives of Dermatology

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Surviving the Holiday Buffet
2. Surviving the Holiday Blues
3. Management science guru, surviving cancer, offers hope to fellow sufferers, doctors
4. The probability of surviving nine types of cancer is analyzed
5. Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be Crucial to Surviving With Spinal Cord Injury, Allsup Reports
6. Surviving Cardiac Arrest Depends on Your Location
7. Chances of surviving cardiac arrest depends on your neighborhood
8. The Practical Visionary Offers Eight Keys to Surviving and Thriving in the 21st Century
9. Relatives of melanoma patients ignore their skin cancer risk
10. Novel immune system-based gene therapy induces strong responses in metastatic melanoma, sarcoma
11. New Therapies Offer Insight Into Battling Deadly Melanomas
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Surviving Melanoma May Take Different Toll on Women, Men
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back ... to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Users have full control over angle of ... Pulse masking effects, users are sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... According to an article published November 15th by ABC ... security in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, other cities are taking ... attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around special events that may be high-profile in ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... "When I was traveling, I was ... N.J. "Many people catch diseases simply from sitting on such dirty toilet seats. ... from germs." , He developed the patent-pending QUDRATECS to eliminate the need to ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over ... More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of ... WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... failing. Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of ... protection solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... the addition of the "Global Brain ... their offering. --> ) ... "Global Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... License Application (BLA) with the United States ... ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to Humira ® ... biosimilar application submitted to the FDA and represents Amgen,s ... Sean E. Harper , M.D., executive vice president ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a retail specialty pharmacy ... patients suffering from chronic pain, said today that it ... Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from unilaterally terminating the ... --> --> The company said ... options. --> --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: