Men most likely to die from skin cancer

Skin cancer death rates in UK men have more than tripled since the early 1970s – with men almost two-thirds more likely to die from the disease than women, a new study says today.

Analysis by Cancer Research UK has found that while death rates from have risen by 219% in men since 1973, in women the increase is 76%.

It said with about 1,400 UK men dying of melanoma skin cancer compared to about 980 women. It means men are 69% more likely to die from skin cancer than women.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research, said: “These figures showing that six people die of melanoma every day in the UK really drive home the importance of sun safety. We all need to take steps to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of skin cancer.

“This weekend remember to spend some time in the shade, cover up with clothing and regularly apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and 4 or 5 stars.

“And if you notice any unusual changes to a patch of skin or nail, don’t put off telling your doctor. In most cases it’s not cancer, but if it is, an early diagnosis can make all the difference.”

A recent consumer research survey from NIVEA SUN, as part of its partnership with Cancer Research UK, found that although 84% of UK men know sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer, less than a quarter said they always protect themselves from the sun.

A quarter of men said they did not sun protection if they did not feel the sun was strong enough, while 23% said they did not think about using sun cream.

With people set to spend more time outdoors this weekend, as the extreme temperatures continue to rise, CRUK is releasing these figures to encourage people to protect their skin from the sun – especially if they burn easily.

Skin cancers are more often found on men’s torsos than on other body parts, which could make it harder to spot changes to the skin, and potentially contribute to the higher proportion of later-stage diagnosis seen in men.

Cancer Research UK said it was important to remember that sun damage can be caused even in cloudy weather and although people with naturally dark or brown skin burn less easily and have a lower risk of skin cancer, the risk of developing skin cancer is lower, not removed altogether.

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