Should Men Worry about Skin Cancer?

Men and women face different risks as they age. Among the various men’s health issues we talk about today, skin cancer usually isn’t at the top of the list. It needs to be. With skin cancer rates rising among adults of all ages, men need to be just as aware and concerned about how they protect their skin as the women they love. Here, we discuss what you need to know about men and skin cancer

Skin cancer is a leading form of cancer among American men, and statistics are alarming. 

More than 2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. The vast majority of them are basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. These types of skin cancer can cause disfigurement but are rarely fatal. Melanoma, the least common but most serious form of skin cancer, tends to affect higher numbers of men than women. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 63,000 men are expected to get diagnosed with melanoma this year (compared to about 43,000 women). According to the National Cancer Institute, three times more melanoma cases occur today than they did 35 years ago, though the reason why is unclear.

Fatality rates are higher among men diagnosed with melanoma than women with the disease.

It is estimated that the melanoma death rate is twice as high in men than women. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “an estimated 7,180 people will die of melanoma in 2021. Of those, 4,600 will be men and 2,580 will be women.” That said, we must also look at the success related to early detection and treatment. The Skin Cancer Foundation also notes that:

  • Compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated 30 to 59 days after biopsy have a 5 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, and those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk.
  • Across all stages of melanoma, the average five-year survival rate in the U.S. is 93 percent. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent.

What We Can Do as Providers and Patients

According to surveys, less than fifty percent of men would likely schedule a skin cancer exam. Furthermore, only about half of men polled said they used sunscreen in the previous year. This may be why men are more likely than women to report getting at least one sunburn a year. Finally, men polled demonstrated that they were unaware of the guidelines for sunscreen use, and rarely applied the appropriate amount of sunscreen when they did apply any at all. That amount, by the way, is one ounce for the whole body, applied every two hours if more than a few hours are spent outdoors. 

What can we do to help lower the numbers of skin cancer related deaths? We can educate ourselves and others. Patients need not only know what to do to prevent skin cancers like melanoma but also how to deal with a skin cancer diagnosis. The American Society for Mohs Surgery offers support and clinical education for board-certified dermatologists who want to expand their knowledge and skill set in this arena. 

Learn more about membership with the ASMS and our upcoming courses at (800) 616-2767. Patients looking for a Mohs surgeon in their area can browse our directory for more information.

Posted in: Skin Cancer

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