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Melanoma Mortality Higher for Males Than Females

FRIDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- White males with melanoma are more likely to die from the disease compared with white females with melanoma, according to a study published online June 26 in JAMA Dermatology.

Christina S. Gamba, M.D., from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues examined survival in 26,107 non-Hispanic white adolescents and young adults diagnosed with primary invasive melanoma of the skin (at 15 to 39 years of age) from 1989 to 2009.

After a mean follow-up of 7.5 years, the researchers identified 1,561 melanoma-specific deaths. Although males represented only 39.8 percent of melanoma cases, they comprised 63.6 percent of melanoma-specific deaths. After adjusting for factors such as histologic subtype, males were significantly more likely to die of melanoma compared with age-matched females (hazard ratio, 1.55). Males were more likely to die regardless of age group, and even males with thin melanomas were significantly more likely to die compared with age-matched females (hazard ratio, 1.95). Adjusting for health insurance and socioeconomic status had no significant effect.

"Male sex is associated with worse survival among white adolescents and young adults with melanoma after controlling for thickness and other prognostic factors," Gamba and colleagues conclude. "Further investigation of possible biological mechanisms that account for these sex differences is merited."

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