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Surviving Melanoma May Take Different Toll on Women, Men
Date:2/22/2011

s, 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 per
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Surviving Melanoma May Take Different Toll on Women, Men
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