Melanoma appears to have a stronger overall impact on women than men, according to a new report.
In a study of 562 men and women published this month in the Archives of Dermatology, Dutch researchers evaluated the health-related quality of life of melanoma survivors. Subjects filled out several questionnaires, including the Impact of Cancer scale, which measures the effect of the disease on patients' lives. Women were more likely to report that melanoma had a stronger effect (both positive and negative) on their lives.
Behaviorally, female survivors tended to take more definitive action to protect themselves from sun damage after being diagnosed: They were more likely than men to go on fewer vacations to sunny climates; more likely to seek the shade, and more inclined to use sunscreen. They also worried more about the effects of the sun on their skin, as well as on the skin of their children and spouses. However, they had more negative scores than men in physical functioning, bodily pain, general health vitality, and mental health. The authors concluded that female survivors might benefit from more follow-up care, including psychological counseling. They also noted that male survivors may need more education about sun protection.