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Marital Status Tied to Earlier Presentation of Melanoma

WEDNESDAY, April 18, 2018 -- For patients with localized melanoma, marital status is associated with earlier presentation, according to a study published online April 18 in JAMA Dermatology.

Cimarron E. Sharon, from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database of 18 population-based registered cancer institutes. Data were included for 52,063 patients with cutaneous melanoma, aged 18 years and older and without evidence of regional or distant metastases.

The researchers found that 45.7 percent of married patients presented with T1a disease, compared with 43.0, 39.0, and 32.2 percent of never married, divorced, and widowed patients. Conversely, 9.4 and 3.3 percent of widowed and married patients, respectively, presented with T4b disease. After adjustment for socioeconomic and patient factors, the correlation between marital status and higher T stage at presentation remained significant among never married, divorced, and widowed patients (odds ratios, 1.32, 1.38, and 1.70, respectively). Married patients were more likely to undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy in lesions with Breslow thickness >1 mm, for which it is routinely recommended, compared with never married, divorced, and widowed patients (odds ratios, 0.59, 0.87, and 0.69, respectively), independent of T stage and other patient factors.

"Marital status should be considered when counseling patients for melanoma procedures and when recommending screening and follow-up to optimize patient care," the authors write.

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Posted: April 2018