Men behaving badly


MEN really are behaving badly in the sun. Their incidence of malignant melanoma has increased by 12 per cent in just six years, warns Cancer Research UK.

Putting on suncream

The charity is revealing the latest statistics for malignant melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - which show that around 6000 people a year are now diagnosed with the disease. The rise is almost entirely due to the increasing rates in men.

Traditionally women have had higher rates of malignant melanoma, probably because of the fashion for suntans. But over the last few years, Cancer Research UK believes that while women are starting to heed sun warnings, and are increasingly protecting both themselves and their children, men are failing to cover up against harmful UV rays.

This is beginning to be reflected in the statistics, with the gap between men’s and women’s rates of melanoma now narrower than it has been at any point in the last twenty five years.

Over the six years to 1998 the increase for men was 12 per cent and for women just 2.1 per cent.

Open quotes6,000 people a year are now diagnosed with malignant melanomaClose quotes

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information at Cancer Research UK, says: "Since the 1970s, malignant melanoma has seen the fastest increase in incidence of the major cancers and that trend looks set to remain if people continue to ignore sun protection warnings".

Malignant melanoma claims the lives of over 1,600 people in the UK each year, yet it is believed that four out of five cases are preventable. Up to 80 per cent are caused by exposure to the sun.

The charity also advises you see your doctor immediately if:

  • an existing mole or dark patch is getting larger or a new one is growing

  • a mole has a ragged outline

  • a mole has a mixture of different shades of brown and black

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