31 May 2010

Men's skin cancer death rate doubles over 30 years

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The rate of men dying from the deadliest form of skin cancer has doubled over the past three decades.

Figures from Cancer Research UK show a steep increase in deaths from malignant melanoma, especially in elderly men.

In the late 1970s fewer than 400 (1.5 per 100,000) men died from melanoma but that figure has now risen to over 1,100 (3.1 per 100,000). Yet the cancer is preventable if people avoid sunburn and deal with 'worrying' moles early, the charity said.

The death rates for women have also risen, from 1.5 to 2.2 per 100,000. The figures also reveal that although more women are diagnosed in the first place, more men die from the disease. In men aged over 65 deaths have risen from 4.5 per 100,000 to 15.2 per 100,000 over the past 30 years.

Caroline Cerny, from Cancer Research UK, said men needed to learn to look after their skin.

"Too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat, and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole," she said.

The figures also reveal that although more women are diagnosed in the first place, more men die from the disease. In men aged over 65 deaths have risen from 4.5 per 100,000 to 15.2 per 100,000 over the past 30 years.

Caroline Cerny, from Cancer Research UK, said men needed to learn to look after their skin. "Too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat, and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole," she said.

(BBC News)

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