Plymouth men warned about skin cancer after death rates figures revealed
CITY health experts have issued a warning after new figures revealed skin cancer death rates were 70 per cent higher in men than in women.
Death rates from malignant melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – are 70 per cent higher in men than women, despite similar numbers being diagnosed with the disease each year – according to the latest figures from national charity Cancer Research UK.
The figures, released on Wednesday, show that each year in the UK, 3.4 men per 100,000 compared with 2.0 women die from malignant melanoma. But incidence rates are similar with 17.2 men per 100,000 diagnosed compared with 17.3 women.
This means that, of the 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, while 900 of the 6,600 women who develop it die.
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And the gap is predicted to widen in the future, with death rates from malignant melanoma on the increase in men but remaining stable for women.
However, in the South West the number of people with malignant melanoma is much higher than the national average – with the highest incidence rate for both men and women in the country, at 24.1 men per 100,000 being diagnosed and 23.0 women per 100,000.
Every day around four people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the South West, with that figure jumping to 1,500 every year.
Jill Daniels, Macmillan skin cancer clinical nurse specialist at Derriford Hospital, run by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The number of people developing skin cancer is rising and these latest figures from Cancer Research UK show that for malignant melanoma death rates amongst men are higher than women.
"We know that one of the reasons for this is because men are less likely to go to see their GP with concerns.
"It is so important that people check their skin regularly and seek help and advice from their GP at the earliest opportunity if they notice any changes in the skin, including a new growth or if they have a spot or mole that is itchy, bleeds, hurts or will not heal. Men are more likely to develop the cancer on their back so asking a partner to check regularly is a good idea.
"If a change in a mole or new mark on the skin raises a question mark with you, it is best to get it looked at. It is always better to get something checked out sooner rather than later. Most skin cancers are curable if detected early and the risk of someone being diagnosed with skin cancers is greatly reduced if they take care in the sun and follow the sun protection advice."
At Derriford Hospital there are two full time skin cancer nurse specialists and they see around 220 new cases of patients with melanoma every year.