The researchers said women's survival advantage may be due to habits such as better health maintenance or more visits to the doctor, which helps detect tumors when they are smaller and more curable.
However, among those who had the thinnest tumors, men were still twice as likely to die, which suggests that men's disadvantage is due to biological differences rather than behavioral ones, according to the study.
Little is known about the biological differences that might result in different melanoma survival rates in men and women. Some proposed explanations involve the immune system, sex hormones, genetic factors and vitamin D metabolism.
While further studies are needed to investigate these possible biological differences, the dramatic difference in survival calls for behavioural interventions to promote early detection strategies in young men, the researchers said.
Public health messages that warn against risky behaviour such as skin tanning are more likely to be heeded by women. Swetter said that such messages should target men too, and emphasise that men are at higher risk of dying of melanoma.
- Source Live Science