Deaths from skin cancer among men have soared in rich countries since 1985, with death rates among women climbing more slowly or even declining, researchers at a medical conference in Glasgow on Sunday said.
The reasons for the discrepancy between the sexes are uncertain, but the evidence suggests that men "are less likely to protect themselves from the sun" or watch out for public health warnings, researcher Dorothy Yang, a physician at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in London.
More than 90% of melanoma cancers are caused by damage to skin cells due to exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as tanning beds, according to the Centers for Disease Control ) from the USA.
In eight of the 18 countries examined, skin cancer mortality rates in men increased over three decades by at least 50%.
In two nations – Ireland and Croatia – nearly doubled.
There was also a strong jump: Spain and Great Britain (70%), the Netherlands (60%), France and Belgium (50%).
In the United States, which were not included in the study, male melanoma mortality increased by about 25%, according to CDC statistics.
But nations with the highest increase in skin cancer deaths often were not at the highest death rates, the new research showed.
– Silver lining for ozone hole –
In Australia, for example, almost six out of every 100,000 men succumbed to the disease in 2013-15. That is double the second highest mortality rate (Finland), but only a 10% increase compared to 30 years earlier.
"Australia has early implemented public health media campaigns since the 1970s to promote" smart "behavior," Yang told AFP by telephone before presenting his data at the National Research Institute's Cancer of 2018 in the United Kingdom.
While the debate continues on how much the record rate of skin cancer in Australia stems from ozone depletion in the stratosphere, 30 years of public health campaigns have certainly made Australians aware of the dangers.
The so-called "ozone hole" was especially large in Australia when efforts began.
Skin cancer deaths among women in 1985 in Australia occurred at half the rate for men and declined 10 percent in the next 30 years, Yang and three colleagues said.
Other countries where female mortality from the disease declined over the same period are Austria (nine percent), the Czech Republic (16 percent) and Israel (23 percent). In several other nations – Romania, Sweden and Britain – there were slight increases.
In some other sun-loving nations, however, women saw such a sharp jump from 1985 to 2015 in mortality rates as males: Netherlands (58%), Ireland (49%), Belgium (67%) and Spain 74%). Percent).
Japan has by far the lowest mortality from melanoma, for men and women, at 0.24 and 0.18 per 100,000, respectively.
Scientists are investigating whether biological or genetic factors may also play a role in skin cancer, but findings so far are inconclusive, Yang said.
Evidence suggests that men are less likely to protect themselves from the sun or pay attention to public health warnings, the researchers said.
More than 90% of melanoma cancers are caused by damage to skin cells due to exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet radiation, such as tanning beds, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
While the debate continues over how much the record rate of skin cancer in Australia stems from ozone depletion in the stratosphere, 30 years of public health campaigns have certainly made Australians aware of the dangers