Skip to main content

Partner Bereavement and skin cancer diagnosis

How much do we rely on partners to spot medical problems, and how important is this in prognosis?

Psychological stress has been proposed as a risk factor for melanoma, but clinical evidence is limited.

It is reasonable to consider that any kind of stress will affect the bodies defences, such as the immune system.  The stress of illness in a  partner or a close relative has its toll, and then there is the impact of loss if they die. 



A recent British Journal of Dermatology study funded by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology looked for a potential link between the death of a partner, which is one of the most stressful life events, and melanoma.

The research was carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

The result was rather curious.

In the study, which included information from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink and Danish nationwide registries, investigators found that partner bereavement was linked with a decreased risk of being diagnosed with melanoma, but with an increased risk of dying after being diagnosed.

The authors of the study consider two possibilities.   Whilst it could be due to the stress of losing a loved one, it might also be that they no longer have a partner to help spot possible skin problems and this delays diagnosis.  As the lead author, Dr Sinead Langan explains.

“The study findings are interesting and may relate to bereaved people no longer having someone to help with skin examinations, leading to delays in diagnosis, although we cannot rule out stress being important in melanoma progression.”
The findings indicate it would be beneficial to have a lower threshold for skin examination in individuals whose partners have died.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

A time for every purpose

All life moves. Or, more precisely, all life moves purposefully.  This is true even for trees and plants.  Movement is essential for maintaining life.  Animals migrate; plants disperse.  Some form of migration is an ingredient of all life.  For many organisms, it is a key function of reproduction.  We don't reproduce merely to create a new organism, but also to disperse the population - finding new fertile ground, or resources. Reproduction is a form of migration. Reproduction isn't merely to replicate. Reproduction produces change and diversity.  While we may have strong resemblences in families, we also have differences.  Creating a difference is how evolution works.  In this sense, nature is a continuous exploratory process, finding what works best.  Nature senses change and responds.  Some of this is immediate and physiological or behavioural; some of it is over generations.  If we look at a forest over long periods of time, we would see that it shifts. There is a movement

Noise pollution puts nature at risk

 "I just want a bit of peace and quiet!" Let's get away from all the hustle and bustle; the sound of endless traffic on the roads, of the trains on the railway, and the planes in the sky; the incessant drone; the noise. We live in a world of man-made noise; screeching, bellowing, on-and-on in an unmelodious cacophony.  This constant background noise has now become a significant health hazard.   With average background levels of 60 decibels, those who live in cities are often exposed to noise over 85 decibels, enough to cause significant hearing loss over time.  It causes stress, high blood pressure, headache and loss of sleep and poor health and well-being.   In nature, noise has content and significance.  From the roar of the lion, the laughing of a hyena,  communication is essential for life; as the warning of danger, for bonding as a group or a pair, finding a mate, or for establishing a position in a hierarchy - chattering works.  Staying in touch is vital to working