Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
London: A new study says that men are 70% more vulnerable to skin cancer than women although similar numbers are being diagnosed with the disease.
Cancer Research UK, a leading charity, found that some 1,300 of the 6,200 men who develop malignant melanoma die of it each year compared to 900 of the 6,600 women.
Health experts are of the view that the difference could be men delaying seeking help as the disease got diagnosed in the latter stages.
The charity also says death rates will continue to rise in men while remaining steady in women.
Prof Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, said there also seemed to be biological reasons behind the differences. She also thinks that women have stronger immune systems.
“Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage,” said Prof Julia Newton-Bishop.
“But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences and we’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways,” she added.
Experts said men should not delay seeing their doctor if they notice any changes to their skin.
Another concern is that men, unlike women, develop the cancer on their back more often rather than arms and legs making them more difficult to spot.
“Asking your partner to check your back is a good idea,” said Prof Newton-Bishop.
The death rates due to malignant melanoma have been increasing in the UK since the early 1970s.
Malignant melanoma is usually caused by damage from UV light from the sun, but UV light from sun beds can also contribute to the disease. Hence, people are advised to use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and above during outdoor to protect their skin.