Men have higher risk of dying from skin cancer
MEN are less likely to get skin cancer than women but they have higher death rates from the disease, the head of Irish cancer services has warned.
Dr Susan O Reilly, who highlighted their higher risk of death, made her comments to mark Men's Health Week, warning they need to be able to recognise the signs and get checked.
"Get to know your skin and what is normal for you. Check it every month for changes and speak to your doctor if you are concerned. Melanoma mainly but not always develops from a new mole or a change to an existing mole," she said.
"The main changes to watch for in moles are changes in colour, shape and size. Most changes won't be a sign of something serious but catching it early and getting it treated as soon as possible could save your life."
Dr Reilly, director of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) who teamed up with the Irish Cancer Society for the campaign, said men also have significantly higher incidence rates of bowel, lung, bladder and stomach cancer ranging from 1.6 to three times the rate of incidence in females.
"Male survival was significantly lower than female survival for lung cancer. Male risk of death from colorectal cancer increased over time becoming significantly higher than the female risk of death after one year post-diagnosis," the cancer charity pointed out.
"Many of these findings can be explained by lifestyle factors such as traditionally higher rates of tobacco use in men, excess alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets, higher levels of obesity and low levels of physical activity.
"Other factors including late diagnosis resulting in lower survival chances were also taken into account. Lower socio-economic status is also associated with a higher risk of developing a number of cancers."
Rosemary Scott, health promotion officer with the society, added: "The message for older and younger men alike: get informed about risk factors of cancer, and what you can do to protect your health. Know your body, look out for any unusual changes and take action. Early detection and treatment can greatly increase your chances of beating cancer."
It is launching a new manual for men as part of the week to help them learn more about cancer and to make the lifestyle changes that will reduce risk. For a free copy, phone: 1800 200 700.