Myth Busters, Skin Cancer

Why is Skin Cancer More Common in Men Than Women?

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Team Molemap Creator
Posted 24/08/18

We all know that skin cancer is incredibly common in Australia in comparison to other parts of the world. What we don't usually realise is that the the extent of this situation certainly doesn’t end with that fact. Absolutely anyone can suddenly find themselves affected by this terrible disease. But, there are some groups that are at a higher risk than others.

People in their 40s and 50s, those with fair skin, people who already have many moles and freckles, and Australians with a family history of skin cancer — any or all of these attributes will qualify someone as "high risk" for conditions like melanoma.

But the fact of the matter is that there’s another group of people who are also high risk that are larger in scope and scale than most believe.

Men.

That’s right — if it seems like skin cancer is more common in men than in women, you’re not imagining things. It’s not a myth. It’s an absolute truth for a wide range of reasons that is in your own best interest to explore.

Skin Cancer in Men vs Women: The Major Risks

Before exploring why men appear to be more prone to skin cancer over women, it’s important to know what these risks actually are.

According to one recent study, men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than their female counterparts. When it comes to being diagnosed with melanoma, for example, men have a 1 and 14 chance — while women have a 1 in 24 chance. Neither of these statistics represent particularly great odds, but the disparity here is staggering, to say the least.

Not only that, but men have a 1 in 84 chance of death after a melanoma diagnosis. On the other hand, women only have a 1 in 240 chance.

When you consider the fact that there are 250,000 Australian men who are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, you can begin to see a much clearer picture of the situation that people are currently dealing with.

Reason #1: Sun Protection — or a Lack Thereof

Perhaps the biggest reason skin cancer is more common in men than in women has to do with the fact that men are simply less likely to employ adequate sun protection techniques across the board.

In fact, studies estimate that men are about half as likely to use sun protection in comparison to women. They are therefore more likely to get burned during an outdoor afternoon, which itself is the leading cause of skin cancer diagnosis in Australia.

Reason #2: Men Are Far Less Vigilant about Skin Cancer Check-Ups

Another major contributing factor for men being at an increased risk of skin cancer over women has to do with the fact that men tend to be far less likely to get regular check-ups than women.

Based on several studies, men are far less likely to see a doctor about suspicious skin lesions or moles that they may discover. This is detrimental, knowing that early detection and diagnosis is an absolutely critical part in successful treatment and survival rates.

Essentially, men let a small problem go untreated for far too long, and it turns into a much bigger, more expensive, and deadlier problem down the road.

Reason #3: Men Spend More Time Outdoors

Again, sunburn is the leading cause of as many as 95% of all melanomas in Australia. During your average summer weekend, one in eight Australian adults and one in five Australian teens end up with a sunburn. This is another major reason why skin cancer is more common in men — they simply spend more time outdoors.

This is especially dangerous during those peak UV times, which tend to fall between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is one of the main causes of skin cancer and is particularly deadly because you can’t see or feel it.

When you combine all three of these major reasons together, you’re left with something of a perfect storm — a situation where men are far more likely to become exposed to skin cancer and far less likely to do something about it until it’s too late, leading to a major discrepancy in terms of who is being diagnosed and why.

MoleMap: Because Detection Shouldn’t Discriminate

MoleMap was designed to offer both men and women the advanced and accurate skin cancer detection resource they need when they need it the most.

While it’s not a myth that skin cancer is more common in men than in women, it ravages both sexes equally after diagnosis. Therefore, the best chance you have to making sure this is a situation you do not find yourself in involves making an effort to check out anything suspicious on your body sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to find out more information about the disparity between skin cancer in men and women, or if you’d just like to discuss your own situation with someone in a more personal way, don’t delay — contact MoleMap today.

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