Studies have shown that women are more proactive about monitoring and maintaining their general health than men, and this is especially the case in relation to getting their skin checked and applying sunscreen. But according to some eye opening skin cancer statistics, men need to do even more to protect themselves from the dangerous effects of too much sun exposure. Between outdoor work and recreation, men on average accumulate more unprotected sun exposure than women, but are less likely to wear sunscreen or get their skin checked…this is an important statistic we hope to change by spreading awareness.
A few more skin cancer statistics to be aware of:
- Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in American men, and the rate of new cases is rising
- Men are nearly twice as likely as women to die from skin cancer (melanoma)
- Men are twice as likely to develop basal and squamous cell skin cancers than women (which if diagnosed, incidentally may increase your risk for developing other cancers)
So what can we do? Ladies: don’t be afraid to start nagging! We love our fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, boyfriends, husbands (you get the point), and much of the general public simply lacks the necessary knowledge regarding the dangers of UV exposure and the importance of sun protection and early detection. So encourage the men in your life to cover up, and to get their skin checked. The 5 year survival rate for melanoma that is detected and treated before it reaches the lymph nodes is 98 percent. This is great news for early detection efforts, so we must keep spreading the word!
Fellas, what can you do? Firstly, don’t be stubborn and put off getting checked by a dermatologist (you should be getting your skin checked by a professional at least once per year). If you notice a mole that itches, bleeds, is tender, or grows, get it checked by a professional immediately, don’t wait. This could literally SAVE YOUR LIFE. In the meantime, protection and prevention are key. Shield your skin by wearing UV protectant clothing, a wide brim hat, and applying a broad spectrum sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure (make sure to reapply every 2 hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating). Seek the shade during peak hours (10 AM – 4 PM), wear UV protective sunglasses, and most importantly, monitor your skin for any changes between annual derm visits. For those of you who don’t know how to perform a self skin check, click here for a step by step guide.
Practicing sun safety is easy, and everyone deserves to be able to live and have fun outdoors!