Does the Relationship Between Skin Cancer and Obesity Differ Between Young Adult Males Versus Elderly Males?




Ly, Ashley
Hamid, Kanwal
Chuen, Joyce
Dao, Alejandra
Hartos, Jessica


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Purpose: Obesity is an established risk factor for several cancer types, but there are conflicting findings about the relationship between obesity and skin cancer especially in males. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore whether the relationship between obesity and skin cancer differs between young adult males and elderly males. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used 2015 BRFSS data for males ages 18-40 and ages 65 and older from Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between skin cancer and obesity while controlling for age, White ethnicity/race, educational level, tobacco use, alcohol use, healthy eating, and routine checkups. Results: Few participants reported ever being diagnosed with skin cancer (13-17%) and about one-third reported being obese (28-33%). Results of adjusted analysis indicated that skin cancer and obesity were not significantly related in any state, but skin cancer differed by age and ethnicity/race (large effect sizes) in all four states. Conclusions: Overall, obesity was not related to skin cancer in any of the four states in young and elderly males, but skin cancer differed by age and ethnicity/race in all four states. Although this study was restricted to a single time-point survey, the broad range of the BRFSS survey allows the results to generalize to the general population in the primary care setting. Due to the low to moderate prevalence of obesity, primary care providers should educate patients on its harmful effects while the low prevalence of skin cancer indicates providers should only screen patients with symptoms. Since there is no association between obesity and skin cancer, these conditions should be considered separately.