The cancer risk too many men underestimate

Less than one-in-three Australian men consider themselves at high risk of skin cancer.

Too many underestimate cancer risk

Less than one-in-three Australian men (32 per cent) consider themselves at high risk of skin cancer, despite 82 per cent reporting at least one known risk factor, such as fair hair, skin that burns easily, or spending time outdoors each week.

Moreover, most men (61 per cent) have delayed a visit to their doctor despite having concerns about a health issue, with more than a quarter of full-time workers claiming to be too busy at work and unable to spare the time.

The Australasian College of Dermatologists survey, which was released on Wednesday, reinforces the importance of early skin cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention among men for Australia’s most common cancer.

“Men are at higher risk of developing both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer than women but are often more reluctant to visit a doctor to have their skin checked,” explained dermatologist Dr Alex Varol.

“Often it is not until they know someone who has been diagnosed with skin cancer, that they too suddenly realise they could be at risk of the disease.”

These are some changes to look for when checking your skin for any signs of skin cancer:

  • new moles
  • moles that increase in size
  • an outline of a mole that becomes notched
  • a spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied
  • a spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it
  • the surface of a mole becomes rough, scaly or ulcerated
  • moles that itch or tingle
  • moles that bleed or weep
  • spots that look different from the others.

So, how do you check your skin? Here are some pointers from Cancer Council Australia:

  • Be sure to check your body all over, as skin cancers can sometimes occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun – e.g. soles of the feet, between fingers and toes and under nails
  • Undress completely and make sure there is good lighting in the room
  • Use a mirror to check hard-to-see spots, such as your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check those areas for you.

Have you ever had a skin cancer check? Do you have one of the significant risk factors?

Read more at Cancer Council Australia, with helpful images.

This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.



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    6th Jun 2018
    This is handy to know. However, what percentage of women consider themselves to be at risk of skin cancer? I'd hazard a guess and suggest that its 32% at best, given the number of sun-bathing women one sees on beaches, and otherwise tanning themselves. This article has the whiff of feminist male-bashing about it.
    6th Jun 2018
    I don't think you can differentiate between men, women and children as to who gets skin cancers, so much depends on the lifestyle one leads, the care you take to protect your skin and where you live, just to name a few. I am fair skinned an 2 years ago my DR sent me to another GP to remove a small BCC as it was close to my eye and he had more experience, it was the best thing she could have done as this Dr found things under my skin that could not even been seen only by a special light and so I had a trip to The Skin Hospital in Sydney for Mohrs Surgery by a plastic surgeon that invilvedremoving a large area on my nose and replacing it with a skin graft. The staff there are wonderful I cannot speak too highly of them, very caring and professional.
    6th Jun 2018
    Sorry for the spelling.

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