05 Mar Stress and Delayed Detection Contribute to Increased Melanoma Mortality with Loss of Partner
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Sinead Langan. FRCP MSc PhD
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Wellcome Senior Clinical Fellow
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health,
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Psychological stress is commonly cited as a risk factor for melanoma, but clinical evidence is limited. We wanted to test the hypothesis that acute severe stress increases the risk of melanoma and melanoma progression.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found a decreased risk of melanoma diagnosis, but increased mortality associated with partner bereavement using data from the UK and Denmark.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: These findings may be partly explained by delayed detection resulting from the loss of a partner who could notice skin changes. Stress may also play a role in melanoma progression. Our findings indicate the need for a low threshold for skin examination in individuals whose partners have died.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: In terms of assessing the role of stress and melanoma, it may be also useful to assess the relationship between chronic stress and melanoma progression.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: We did not have information on some risk factors for melanoma including sun exposure, pigmentary traits and family history of skin cancer. There is also a possibility of misclassification of people’s partners in the UK; however, partnership data in the Danish study are available over time, and the findings in Denmark were broadly similar to those of the U.K. study. We are grateful for the funding from the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
Wong, A., Frøslev, T., Dearing, L., Forbes, H., Mulick, A., Mansfield, K., Silverwood, R., Kjærsgaard, A., Sørensen, H., Smeeth, L., Lewin, A., Schmidt, S. and Langan, S. (2020), The association between partner bereavement and melanoma: cohort studies in the U.K. and Denmark. Br J Dermatol. doi:10.1111/bjd.18889
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