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Skin cancer deaths rise for men in the developed nations

In just 30 years, rates have doubled in Croatia and Ireland, with a jump of 70% in the United Kingdom and Spain

Deaths by skin cancer among men have risen high in wealthy nations since 1985, with mortality rates among women declining – researchers have told so in a medical conference in Glasgow.

The reason for this discrepancy between sexes aren’t clear but evidence suggests that men are “highly unlikely to protect themselves from the sun” or take notice of public health warnings – Dorothy Yang, a doctor at the Royal Free London hospital in London said so on Sunday.

World’s first ever melanoma blood-test has detected early stages of the deadly skin cancer.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 90% of melanoma cancers are caused by exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet (UV) radiation such as tanning beds that cause the skin cells to damage.

In 8 of 18 countries examined, skin cancer death rates in men have increased by at least 50% in the past 30 years.

In two nations – Croatia and Ireland – it has roughly doubled.

 A sharp jump was also seen in Spain and Britain ( by 70%), The Netherlands (by 60%), as well as France and Belgium (by 50%).

According to CDC statistics, in the US, which was not included in the study,  melanoma mortality in men went up by 25%.

But the research showed that the nations with the biggest soaring rates in skin cancer deaths were often not those with the most elevated mortality rates.

For instance, In Australia, nearly 6 out of every 100,000 men succumbed to skin cancer in 2013-15, which is twice the 2nd highest death rate (Finland), but merely a 10% increase, as compared to 30 years earlier.

“Australia is one of the earliest implementers of public health media campaigns since the 1970s to promote sun-smart behavior” – Yang said so before presenting her data at the 2018 United Kingdom National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Glasgow on Sunday.

While the debate continues as to how much of Australia’s skin cancer rate stems from depletion of UV-filtering ozone in the stratosphere, 30 years of public health campaigns have undoubtedly made Australians acutely aware of the hazards.

The so-called “ozone hole” was especially huge over Australia when the efforts started kicking off.

Yang and three colleagues reported that skin cancer deaths among women in 1985 in Australia occurred at half the rate in that of men, and declined by 10% over the next 30 years.

Countries other than Australia, where female mortality from the disease went down over the same period are – Austria (by 9%), the Czech Republic (by 16%), and Israel (by 23%) – There were slight increases in several other nations like Romania, Sweden, and Britain.

In other such sun-loving nations, however, women at least saw as sharp a jump from 1985 to 2015 in death rates as that of men – The Netherlands (by 58%), Ireland (by 49%), Belgium (by 67%) and Spain (by 74%).

Japan by far has the lowest melanoma mortality, for both men and women, at a small figure of 0.24 and 0.18 per 100,000, respectively.

Scientists seem to be investigating if biological or genetic factors may also play a role in skin cancer, but the findings so far aren’t conclusive, Yang said.

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