Men living alone are placed at higher risk of skin cancer

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A new study has suggested that males who live alone place themselves at higher risk of late diagnosis of skin cancer.

Males who live alone are not likely to spot the early stages of the disease and are 31% more likely to die from cancer.

Researchers have found that when males first visit their physician for a diagnosis, the chances of them obtaining a stage 2 skin cancer diagnosis, instead of stage 1, was 42% higher than men who lived with others.

The incidence of a diagnosis of stage 3 or 4 rather than stage 1 was 43% higher. The scientists reported that the disease was 31% more likely to be deadly in those living alone.

The scientists based at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm made use of data from 27,235 patients who suffer from malignant melanoma which is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. If the disease receives early treatment, patients have a 90% survival rate. However, the prognosis may become worse the longer the tumour goes undetected.

The results of the research were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and indicated that single men of any age were likely to face death from this disease. It found that older females who live alone were also likely to obtain an advanced stage diagnosis when they first visit their doctor.

It was found though that single females were not at risk of late-stage cancer whether they lived alone or lived with a partner.

The researchers came to the conclusion that the most plausible explanation for this result was that men and older females who live alone are not very well informed about the disease, or the lack of a partner who would notice any possibly diseased marks on their skin was a factor.

The first author of this study, Dr Hanna Eriksson, has said that the reduction in survival rates in men can be explained partly by the advanced stages of their diagnoses. This may be attributed to them not having another person at home to examine their skin. She stated that there may be additional differences when compared to females who appear to obtain a better prognosis for the disease.

Image credit: Kristen Taylor

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