Bottom Line: Marital status was associated with earlier detection of localized melanoma, with married patients more likely to present with early stage tumors than patients who were never married, divorced or widowed.
Why The Research Is Interesting: Early detection of melanoma, a potentially fatal skin cancer, is critical and is associated with better patient outcomes. Marital status has been associated with improved outcomes in cancer but not much is known about the influence of marital status on the detection of early localized melanoma.
Who and When: 52,063 patients identified in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database with a diagnosis of melanoma with no evidence of regional or distant metastases and with recorded marital status and sentinel lymph node status who presented from 2010 through 2014
What (Study Measures): Marital status of married, never married, divorced or widowed (exposure); tumor stage at presentation and whether a sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed on lesions with a thickness greater than 1 mm (outcomes)
How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Because researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain the study findings.
Authors: Cimarron E. Sharon, B.S., of the
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