Women who have had children are more likely to beat skin cancer than women who don’t, with new research showing that all women have better survival rates than men.
Research from Cancer Council Queensland, to be released today, found survival rates were higher for females than males for nearly all tumour stages but the advantage was weaker for women aged under 45.
“Our research shows the survival differences for women aren’t just present with thick melanoma, but also stage one melanoma – the most commonly diagnosed,” spokeswoman Katie Clift said.
“The data indicates there may be an underlying biological mechanism, influenced by age, which exists in females from the very early stages of the disease.”
The report said that the findings backed the theory that changes in hormones, from pregnancy, contraception and menopause, could be behind the survival rates.
Male hormones, such as testosterone, are believed to stimulate melanoma cells’ growth and tumour “invasion”, but the clinical effect of this is not known.
“The pregnancy and post-partum periods have also been reported to affect melanoma outcomes. In particular, parous (having given birth) women seem to have better melanoma survival compared to nulliparous controls. This might further contribute to the increased difference observed between males and females after the reproductive age,” the report said…read more.