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As everyone knows, growing older brings an increased number of health concerns. In fact, dermatologists warn that men older than 50 have an increased risk of developing melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. Unfortunately, a new survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) found that most men are lax when it comes to proper sun protection and are unsure how to examine their skin for skin cancer.
The Academy conducted an online survey of adults nationwide that found:
When outside in the sun, less than one-third of men (29%) say they ‘always’ protect their skin, compared with 43% of women. A significantly larger percentage of men (39%) than women (28%) agreed that they prefer to enjoy sunshine and not worry about what they should do to protect themselves from it. Less than half of men (46%) indicated they knew how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer compared with 59% of women.
“This survey demonstrates that many men do not protect themselves from the sun when outdoors and that some still believe that sun exposure is good for their health. This is a very troubling combination in light of the fact that the major risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet light,” says board-certified dermatologist Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Brown University School of Medicine. “Men need to examine their skin and see a dermatologist if they spot anything changing, bleeding or growing.
To address the increased risk of skin cancer in men 50 and older and raise awareness of this health issue, the Academy produced television and radio public service advertisements (PSAs) targeting this group. “Golf” uses the humor of hazards on the golf course to point out that the missed hazard of a spot on a person’s skin could actually be a killer. These PSAs are being distributed to television, cable and radio stations nationwide in May and also are posted to YouTube. The TV PSAs also can be viewed at www.aad.org/psa.