White males more likely to die of melanoma

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White male teens and young adults are more likely to die of melanoma skin cancer than their female counterparts, a new study finds.

Researchers looked at data from more than 26 000 white patients, aged 15 to 39, in the United States who were diagnosed with melanoma between 1989 and 2009 and followed for an average of seven and a half years.

During the follow-up, there were nearly 1 600 melanoma-related deaths. Although males made up about 40% of the melanoma patients, they accounted for more than 63% of the deaths, according to the study, which was published June 26 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

After adjusting for various factors, the investigators concluded that males were 55% more likely to die of melanoma than females.

Continued public health efforts are needed to raise young men's awareness of the dangers of melanoma, said Dr Christina Gamba, of the Stanford University Medical Center, and colleagues.

"This alarming difference in the outcome highlights the urgent need for both behavioural interventions to promote early detection strategies in young men and further investigation of the biological basis for the sex disparity in melanoma survival," the study authors concluded.

Melanoma is the third most common type of cancer in American teens and young adults.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about melanoma.

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