Marriage May Reduce Risk of Dying from Melanoma

April 18, 2018

Married folks are more likely to spot a melanoma early, compared with individuals who were never married, divorced or widowed, a new study shows.

Researchers tracked data from more than 52,000 people in the United States who were diagnosed with a melanoma from 2010 through 2014. Married patients were more likely to be diagnosed with early stage melanoma than those who were never married, divorced or widowed, the study found. While almost half of married patients presented with a very treatable, early stage melanoma lesion, that number fell to 43 percent for patients who'd never married, 39 percent for divorced patients, and 32 percent for widowed patients, the study found.

Moreover, the percentage of widowed patients whose melanoma was diagnosed at an advanced stage was triple that of married patients. Married patients were also more likely to follow skin cancer treatment guidelines and get a biopsy done after detection, compared to people who weren't married. The findings appear in JAMA Dermatology.

“Marital status should be considered when counseling patients for melanoma procedures and when recommending screening and follow-up to optimize patient care,” the study authors conclude. “These findings support increased consideration of spousal training for partner skin examination and perhaps more frequent screening for unmarried patients.”

 The study does have its share of limitations including the fact that it was unknown if non-married individuals were in relationships. 



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