Advertisement

NCRI 2018: Mortality in Men With Malignant Melanoma

Advertisement

Key Points

  • In all countries, disease rates were higher in men than in women.
  • The highest 3-year average death rates for 2013 to 2015 were found in Australia and Slovenia, with the lowest in Japan.
  • The Czech Republic was the only country where the researchers found a decrease in men’s melanoma death rate.

The rate of men dying from malignant melanoma has risen in populations around the world, whereas in some countries, mortality rates for the disease are steady or falling for women, according to research presented by Yang et al at the 2018 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference (Abstract 1952).

Researchers studied worldwide data on deaths gathered by the World Health Organization, focusing on 33 countries with the most reliable data. They found that melanoma mortality rates in men were rising 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 targeted at men may be needed to raise awareness of the disease and of sun-smart behaviors. The work was presented by Dorothy Yang, MD, a Foundation year 2 doctor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

She said, “The major risk factor for melanoma is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from sun exposure or from using sunbeds. Despite public health efforts to promote awareness of melanoma and encourage sun-smart behaviors, melanoma incidence has been increasing in recent decades. However, some new reports have identified signs of stabilization and decline in melanoma death rates in places like Australia and Northern Europe. We wanted to conduct an up-to-date analysis of recent melanoma mortality rates across the world to try to understand these patterns, and whether new diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies are having any effect.”

Study Methods

The researchers studied age-standardized death rates in the 33 countries between 1985 and 2015. These rates take into account the effects of some countries having an aging population and others having a younger demographic. They extracted the rates for malignant melanoma and compared the rates for men and women, looking at trends over time.

In all countries, disease rates were higher in men than in women. Overall, the highest 3-year average death rates for 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 (0.24 in men and 0.18 in women).

The Czech Republic was the only country where the researchers found a decrease in men’s melanoma death rate, where there was as estimated annual percentage decrease of 0.7% between 1985 and 2015. Israel and the Czech Republic experienced the largest decreases in mortality rates in women—23.4% and 15.5%, respectively.

Dr Yang concluded, “More research will be needed to explore the factors underlying these trends. There is evidence that suggests men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or engage with melanoma awareness and prevention campaigns. There is also ongoing work looking for any biological factors underlying the difference in mortality rates between men and women.”

Dr. Yang said that she and her colleagues will continue to examine the data to see whether they can identify any possible factors that help explain the differences.

Disclosure: See study authors’ full disclosures at nature.com.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


Advertisement

Advertisement



Advertisement