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Men more likely to die from skin cancer than women

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A study conducted in the United Kingdom suggests than men - by as much as 70 percent, are more likely to die from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, than women. Data collected from 2011 has shown that men and women at similar risk of contracting the disease.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These figures have proven true in spite of the fact that similar numbers of men and women being diagnosed with the disease every year in the United Kingdom.

The most recent figures available, from 2011 shows that 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma compared with two per 100,000 women.

These figures mean 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. It must be noted that the likelihood of getting the disease is similar between the sexes, with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.

Death rates in men have increased by 185 percent since the 1970s compared to 55 percent in women. It's predicted that death rates will continue to rise in men while remaining stable in women.

"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." Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, Cancer Research U.K. dermatologist based at the University of Leeds, said.

"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.

"We also know that men and women tend to develop melanoma in different places - more often on the back and chest for men and on the arms and legs for women."
 
She adds that "if melanoma does develop on your back then it may be more difficult to spot . asking your partner to check your back is a good idea."

Director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research U.K. Sara Hiom says that key risk factors for melanoma include excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun or sun beds, a pale skin color and high number of moles and a family or personal history of the disease.

"One of the reasons for the difference (between men and women) may be attitudes towards seeing a doctor. We tend to be reluctant to "waste" the doctor's time - men are especially likely to put it off.

"If something goes wrong with the car then you sort it out straight away. The same should go for you - if you, or your partner, notice any unusual or persistent changes then see your general practitioner.

"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, particularly given the sunny weather we've had this summer.

"Sunburn is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged and, over time, this can lead to skin cancer," she says.

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