Steep 50-year rise in melanoma deaths among men

MELANOMA death rates among UK men have risen 219 per cent in the last 50 years, according to new analysis released by Cancer Research UK.

Death rates from melanoma among women from the same period increased by 76 per cent.

The figures equate to around 1,400 UK men dying of melanoma every year and around 980 women. Taking into account age differences, this means men are 69 per cent more likely to die from skin cancer than women.

Death rates from melanoma have decreased by 9 per cent for women in the last decade but not improved for men.

Possible factors identified by the researchers that may be driving this trend include the increased popularity of package holidays and availability of cheap flights to sunny destinations.

Skin cancers are also more often found on men’s torsos than on other body parts – likely due to going shirtless, making it possibly harder to spot changes to the skin and potentially contributing to the higher proportion of later-stage diagnosis seen in men.

A recent survey of 2,000 UK men by NIVEA SUN in partnership with Cancer Research UK found that 84 per cent of UK men know sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer but less than a quarter said they always protect themselves from the sun.

Reasons for not protecting skin included not feeling the sun was strong enough (25 per cent) and not really thinking about it (23 per cent).

Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research, said: "These figures showing that six people die of melanoma every day in the UK really drive home the importance of sun safety. We all need to take steps to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of skin cancer."

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