Global skin cancer deaths rising for men, but not women, study says

07 Novembre, 2018, 14:51 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Evidence suggests men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or heed public health warnings

The research was presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference, which included a study of worldwide data on deaths between 1985 and 2015 gathered by the World Health Organisation, with a focus on 33 countries.

"Despite public health efforts to promote awareness of melanoma and encourage sun-smart behaviors, melanoma incidence has been increasing in recent decades", said Dr. Dorothy Yang, a doctor at the Royal Free London hospital in London.

The global death rates for melanoma - most serious type of skin cancer - has seen a steep rise in men since 1985, with mortality rates among women rising more slowly or even declining, according to researchers, including one of Indian-origin. "There is also ongoing work looking for any biological factors underlying the difference in mortality rates between men and women".

The Czech Republic was the only country with a decrease in men's melanoma death rate, with an estimated annual drop of 0.7 percent between 1985 and 2015.

As the new study reported, skin cancer death rates increased by about 50% in more than eight countries around the world.

In Australia, for example, almost six of every 100,000 men succumbed to the disease in 2013-15.

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They extracted the rates for malignant melanoma, the most risky form of skin cancer, and compared the rates for men and women by looking at trends over time.

While debate continues as to how much of Australia's record skin cancer rate stems from depletion of UV-filtering ozone in the stratosphere, 30 years of public health campaigns have no doubt made Australians acutely aware of the dangers.

Between 2013 and 2015, the highest three-year averages were in Australia (5.72 melanoma deaths for every 100,000 men and 2.53 per 100,000 in women) and in Slovenia (3.86 per 100,000 for men and 2.58 in women).

Other countries where female mortality from the disease went down over the same period are Austria (nine per cent), the Czech Republic (16 per cent), and Israel (23 per cent).

Previous research suggests that men are more reluctant to act on advice to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and are less likely to report potentially cancerous moles. This is an important finding that requires further scrutiny.

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