Melanoma May Affect Women's Quality of Life More Than Men's

Women worry more about sun's effects, more likely to avoid exposure after surviving melanoma

THURSDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma has a greater impact on health-related quality of life for women than for men, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Cynthia Holterhues, M.D., of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues used the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Impact of Cancer (IOC) questionnaire, and specific melanoma-related questions to determine the impact of melanoma on 562 people diagnosed with the disease between 1998 and 2008. The researchers investigated the effect of melanoma on patients' health-related quality of life and its determinants up to 10 years after diagnosis.

The researchers found that melanoma survivors experienced little impairment on their generic health-related quality of life, as measured by the SF-36, when compared to the normative population. However, women were more likely to report both positive and negative cancer-related repercussions on their health-related quality of life. Women adjusted their sun behavior more significantly than did men and were more worried about the effects of ultraviolet radiation. Female gender was the most significant determinant of health-related quality of life; however, stage at diagnosis, age, and comorbidity were also significantly associated with physical and mental outcomes.

"The impact of melanoma seems to be specific and more substantial in women, suggesting that they may need additional care to cope with their melanoma optimally," the authors write.

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