Over half the forms of cancer diagnosed every year are skin cancer, and it is one of the most common forms of cancer among men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2007 Skin Cancer Fact Sheet, one out of five Americans will contract skin cancer at some point in their lives, and if you’ve had more than five sunburns in your life, you’ve doubled your risk of getting the disease.
In light of these startling statistics and with new scientific research about the dangers of sun exposure constantly being released to the public, why are people still choosing to forgo sun protection?
Men seem to be especially susceptible to carelessness when it comes to protecting their skin from the sun’s rays. In a study conducted by the University of Texas, only 34% of men interviewed said they regularly used a sunscreen. This is in comparison to approximately 78% of women. Higher instances of sun carelessness could be attributed to athletic lifestyles, outdoor jobs and the fact that while a great deal of recent attention has been given to women’s skin health, men are often left to find information out for themselves.
The true horror of skin cancer is that it is one of the most preventable forms of the disease. We at MenScience are very concerned about this epidemic among men and want to provide them with the tools and knowledge to prevent them from becoming future victims. With improved attention and awareness, the number of men who will contract skin cancer can be dramatically reduced.
Some of the simplest things to keep in mind are protection and observation:
o Avoid prolonged sun exposure from 10 AM – 4 PM. This is when the most intense rays appear.
o Cover skin with shirts, pants, hat and sunglasses.
o Every month or so, the American Cancer Society recommends that men check their skin, existing moles and birthmarks for changes in size, color or texture. Men are urged to see a doctor if changes are apparent. This is one of the most effective steps for catching problems before they can become life-threatening.
o Regularly wear a sunblock that contains an SPF of 30 and shields skin from both UVA and UVB rays. These are the most harmful forms of sunlight, and all areas of your skin should be protected. Keep application consistent and try to repeat several times if you’re outside for long periods of time.