TOOMEY: A study from the University of California, Irvine, indicates that gender may play a role in skin cancer. Researchers analyzed more than 100,000 records of cancer patients from a ten-year period. They found, as expected, that the incidence of melanoma increased as people age. And that held true for both men and women, until the age of 40. At that point, two things happened. The rate for men rose dramatically, but the rate for women leveled off. What's more, this plateau held steady until the age of 60. The researchers say this is the first study that shows gender differences in the pattern of contracting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. But researchers are at a loss to explain why this is happening. They think altered hormonal levels may play a role. So understanding this apparent period of relative protection may provide clues about preventing melanoma. In the meantime, researchers say public education and screening campaigns should be directed in part toward older men, since melanoma is survivable when detected early. That's this week's health note. I'm Diane Toomey.
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