Skin cancer death rate soars among men

The number of men dying from skin cancer has doubled inside 30 years, research shows.

Figures from Cancer Research UK reveal that 1,100 men died from malignant melanomas in 2008, equivalent to 3.1 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

This compares with just 1.5 deaths per 100,000 in 1979.

Much of this rise is attributable to men over 65. Skin cancer deaths in this age group leapt from 4.5 per 100,000 to 15.2 per 100,000 during this time.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: ‘The rise in skin cancer deaths among men is worrying and highlights how important it is for everyone to protect themselves from overexposure to sun.'

Caroline Cerny of Cancer Research UK said: ‘Preventing the disease developing in the first place will help stop this trend and save lives.'

She said that too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole.

‘And even though more women are diagnosed with the disease, more men die from it. This suggests that men are either not aware of skin cancer symptoms or are ignoring them and putting off going to see their GP,' said Ms Cerny.

The research comes after NICE issued updated skin cancer guidance last week, which will allow GPs to undertake more minor skin surgery in primary care.

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