As we continue into Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to highlight how skin cancer affects our population. A topic not often discussed is the fact that men are twice as likely to die from skin cancer as women. In fact, an estimated 7,230 people will die of melanoma in 2019. Of those, 4,740 will be men and 2,490 will be women.
What we know:Men are more likely to die of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer. Studies show, by age 50, men are also more likely to develop melanoma than women, the likelihood doubles by 65 years of age, and triples by 80.
What are some contributing factors?One plausible reason for such shocking statistics is that research shows men generally know less about skin cancer than women. According to a survey performed by the American Academy of Dermatology in 2016, men knew less about skin cancer prevention all around. Only 56% of men knew there was no such thing as a healthy tan, in comparison to 76% of women. Conversely, only 54% of men knew that a base tan will not protect you from the sun’s rays, in comparison to 70% of women. With less general knowledge about sun protection and skin cancer, men’s skin care habits and overall health can suffer. It’s also proven that women wear more sunscreen than men. With most cosmetics and lotions containing SPF, women are more likely to apply sunscreen without much effort. In addition, men generally have thicker skin, containing more collagen and elastin with less fat beneath, in comparison to women. This makes men’s skin generally more prone to sun damage. Women’s skin may also repair itself from harmful UV rays more easily than men.
What can we do?A key component to reducing skin cancer risks for men and women is education. Continually raising awareness around proper skin care and sun protection, as well as the dangers of skin cancer, is integral to changing these worrying statistics. Routine skin exams, for both men and women, can also reduce the risk of dying of melanoma. When caught early, melanoma is highly treatable. Lastly, continuously practicing the methods of sun protection, such as using sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, wearing protective clothing and seeking shade, can ultimately save your life.
Here at Collins Advanced Dermatology Institute, we provide skin cancer screenings, as well as any treatment of skin cancers you might need. If you have more questions about your risks regarding skin cancer or would like to speak with one of our providers, please call 512.379.6090 or book an appointment online today.