In Australia we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and men are at the greatest risk. Non melanoma is also more prevalent in men, and with over 750,000 people being diagnosed each year it is surprising to note that males have almost double the number of incidences when compared to females. So, why are men more likely to get skin cancer and what can be done about it?
When it comes to deadly cancers, melanoma is the fourth most common cancer we see diagnosed in this country. Over a person’s lifetime and before they hit the age of 85, men have a 1 in 13 chance of having the disease, while for women it is a 1 in 22 chance. For the year 2018 it has been estimated that out of all the new cases of melanoma diagnosed, men would attribute to 8653, while women would come in at 5667. Compare this to the number of estimated deaths caused by melanoma this year, and see approximately 1331 men will be affected compared to 574 women. After a diagnosis men have an 89% chance of surviving for the following five years, where women have a 94% chance.
Often men neglect their health and even when faced with concerns they are more likely to put off a visit to have their skin checked. With many men working outdoors and the excuse of being “too busy” it can lead to a complacent attitude about the potentially dire consequences of inadequate sun protection. The sun plays a major role in the development of skin cancer, and the most at risk demographic of males are those aged over 55 and living in Queensland. This is attributed to the warmer climate, but all Australians need to be proactive. It is still possible to get sunburnt in winter, and sun protection should be practised all year round.
With almost half of Australian men getting a form of skin cancer sometime in their lives, protecting our males requires a change in habits and an understanding of sun protection. All Aussies should check the UV levels before spending time outdoors, and SLIP (on a shirt), SLOP (on some sunscreen), SLAP (on a hat) SEEK (shelter) and SLIDE (on some sunnies). Wear the right type of sunscreen and reapply regularly and keep an eye on your skin for anything unusual. A change of attitude begins with an open dialogue about skin cancer, and booking in a follow up appointment for a full skin and body check after each visit will make it a part of your routine. This is something all women and men should do, and taking a friend or family member to your next visit will normalise the experience. Women can encourage their partners, sons and fathers to invest the time for the health of their skin.
Treating skin cancer in the early stages significantly increases the chance of a positive outcome. At My Skin Centre our experienced and friendly team can give you a full skin and body check. Contact us today for more information or to book an appointment at one of our Perth locations.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!