Skin cancer deaths higher in men than in women

Desiree Burns
November 7, 2018

However, the same can not be said for men as revealed in the latest research presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference in the United Kingdom.

"Despite public health efforts to promote awareness of melanoma and encourage sun-smart behaviors, melanoma incidence has been increasing in recent decades", said Dr. Dorothy Yang, a doctor at the Royal Free London hospital in London.

Men are being urged to cover up in the sun as male death rates for melanoma skin cancer outpace those for women. She said: "The major risk factor for melanoma is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from sun exposure or from using sunbeds".

As for the United States, which has not been studied in this research, about a 25% increase in melanoma death rates in men has been recorded on the same period, according to the CDC.

"We wanted to conduct an up-to-date analysis of recent melanoma mortality rates across the world to try to understand these patterns, and whether new diagnosis, treatment and prevention strategies are having any effect", she added.

But the nations with the biggest rise in skin cancer deaths were often not with the most elevated mortality rates, the new research showed. In Australia, almost six in every 100,000 men died from melanoma from 2013 to 2015.

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The most severe form of skin cancer, melanoma, is causing more than 9,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the Skin Foundation.

The so-called "ozone hole" was especially big over Australia when the efforts kicked off. Skin cancer deaths among women in 1985 in Australia occurred at half the rate as for men, and declined by 10 per cent over the next 30 years, Yang and three colleagues reported.

In addition, Israel and the Czech Republic experienced the largest decrease in mortality rates in women, - 23.4 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on melanoma.

In all countries, the rates were higher in men than in women. As of now, researchers suspect that men are simply not adequately protecting themselves from the sun.

Scientists are investigating whether biological or genetic factors might also play a role in skin cancer, but findings so far are inconclusive, Yang said.

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