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Attention men: Study shows you're 70% more likely to die from skin cancer than women!

by , 23 August 2013

If you're curious about who's more at risk of dying from skin cancer, a new study may have an answer for you. It's found women have better chance of surviving skin cancer. In comparison, men are 70% more likely to die from it. Here are the details of the study and what you can do to reduce your skin cancer risk.

Melanoma, otherwise known as skin cancer, is the most serious type of skin cancer. It develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its colour.

Now researchers UK researchers have found men are 70% more likely to die from skin cancer than women. This despite similar numbers of men and women being diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK, the DailyMail reports.

Men have higher risk of skin cancer compared to women

According to the report, Cancer Research UK data for 2011 (the most recent available) shows 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma. This compares to just two per 100,000 women. This means that of the 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, compared with 900 of the 6,600 women.

The research shows the likelihood of getting the disease is similar between the sexes, with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.

What’s even more shocking is that since the early 1970s, death rates in men have increased by 185% compared to 55% in women.

These figures are expected to rise in men while remaining stable in women.

Why are men more prone to skin cancer?

In the DailyMail report, Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, Cancer Research UK dermatologist based at the University of Leeds, says: “Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.”

She added, “But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences and we’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways.”

Newton-Bishop also explained that since men and women tend to develop melanoma in different places. Skin cancer occurs more often on the back and chest for men and on the arms and legs for women. If melanoma develops on your back it may be more difficult to spot.

Researchers also think another reason for the difference between men and women is that men tend to not seek help form doctors, they put it off.

That’s why it’s recommend you seek treatment if you notice any unusual changes to your skin.

Are you at risk of skin cancer?

Key risk factors for melanoma include excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds, a pale skin colour and high number of moles and a family or personal history of the disease
“The key thing is to get to know your skin and what’s normal for you so you’re more likely to notice something out of the ordinary. It’s also essential to take care not to burn. Sunburn is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged and, over time, this can lead to skin cancer,” said Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK in the DailyMail report.

If you notice any unusual changes to your skin, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

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