Logistically speaking, there are a handful of benefits to getting married: more tax deductions, joining your spouse’s health insurance, and potentially new citizenship options. A new study published in JAMA Dermatology adds decreased likelihood of developing skin cancer to that list. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that married patients are more likely to get an early diagnosis of melanoma than single, widowed, or divorced patients.
Researchers evaluated data from 52,063 patients from cancer institute registries who had presented cutaneous melanoma between 2010 and 2014. Just over half of the patients were male (58.8 percent) and their average age was 64. They found that out of all the patients who presented T1a disease, 45.7 percent were married, 43 percent were never married, 39 percent were divorced, and 32.2 percent were widowed.
Ultimately, the researchers found that patients who never married have a 12 percent higher risk of getting a late-stage skin cancer diagnosis compared with divorced patients who are 34 percent more likely and widow(ers) whose chances of developing advance stage cancer were double.
“Marital status is associated with earlier presentation of localized melanoma,” conclude the researchers. “Moreover, never married, divorced, and widowed patients are less likely to undergo SLNB for appropriate lesions. Marital status should be considered when counseling patients for melanoma procedures and when recommending screening and follow-up to optimize patient care.”