TUESDAY, March 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There is a decreased risk for melanoma diagnosis among bereaved individuals but increased mortality associated with melanoma compared with nonbereaved individuals, according to a study published online March 3 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Angel Y.S. Wong, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues used data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1997 to 2017) and Danish nationwide registries (1997 to 2016) to compare the risk for first melanoma diagnosis in bereaved versus matched nonbereaved people and secondarily to compare the risk for death from melanoma in bereaved versus nonbereaved individuals.

The researchers found that the pooled adjusted hazard ratio for the association between partner bereavement and melanoma diagnosis was 0.88 during the entire follow-up period. Additionally, there was increased melanoma-specific mortality in people experiencing partner bereavement during the follow-up period (hazard ratio, 1.17). Peak risk occurred during the first year of follow-up (hazard ratio, 1.31).

“While stress might play a role in the progression of melanoma, an alternative explanation is that bereaved people no longer have a close person to help notice skin changes, leading to delayed melanoma detection,” the authors write.

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