The proportion of men dying from malignant melanoma has increased in populations around the world, while in some countries rates are stable or declining for women, according to a survey presented at the NCRI Conference on Cancer in 2018.
Researchers studied the World Health Organization's death data by focusing on 33 countries with the most reliable data and found that melanoma mortality rates among men were increasing in all but one country.
They say more research is needed to understand the reason for this trend, but in the meantime more public health efforts may be needed for men to increase awareness of the disease and smart behaviors from the sun.
The project was presented by Dorothy Yang, a junior doctor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, UK.
The most important risk factor for melanoma is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, whether from sun exposure or the use of sunbeds. Despite public health efforts to promote melanoma awareness and encourage sun's behavior, the incidence of melanoma is increasing in recent decades. new reports have identified signs of stabilizing and reducing melanoma mortality rates in places such as Australia and northern Europe, "said Yang." We wanted to conduct an updated analysis of recent melanoma mortality rates around the world to try to understand these standards and whether new diagnosis, treatment and prevention strategies have an effect. "
Researchers studied age mortality rates in 33 countries between 1985 and 2015. These percentages take into account the impact of some countries on aging populations and other countries with a lower demographic level. They exported the rates for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The rates for men and women were compared and looked at trends over time.
In all countries, rates were higher in males than in women.
Overall, the highest mortality rates over the three-year period from 2013 to 2015 were found in Australia (5.72 per 100,000 men and 2.53 per 100,000 in women) and Slovenia (3.86 in men and 2.58 in women), with the lowest in Japan and 0.18 for women).
The Czech Republic was the only country where researchers found a reduction in the melanoma mortality rate in men, where the annual percentage reduction was 0.7% between 1985 and 2015. Israel and the Czech Republic experienced the largest reductions in mortality rates among women, 23.4% and 15.5%, respectively.
"More research is needed to investigate the factors that govern these trends. There are indications that men are less likely to be protected from sunlight or engage in awareness and prevention campaigns for melanoma, a difference in male mortality rates and women, "Yang Siad.
Yang says she and her colleagues will continue to look at the data to see if they can identify potential factors that help explain the differences.
"This research shows that melanoma mortality rates are stabilizing or declining in some countries, particularly for women, but in almost all countries there has been an increase in mortality rates in men over the last 30 years," said Poulam Patel, chairman the NCRI Cancer Clinical Study Group and the clinical oncologist at the University of Nottingham who did not participate in the survey. "These results also show that melanoma will continue to be a health issue in the years to come and we will need to find effective strategies for accurate diagnosis and successful treatment of patients."