Every day, 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. This makes this type of cancer the most common one in the country.
While incidences of skin cancer are higher in women than men before the age of 50, this discrepancy dramatically shifts the other way, with it being diagnosed twice as much in men by age 65, and three times as much by age 80.
Why is skin cancer diagnosed more frequently in men than in women? In this article, we'll explore this question, plus more.
What Is Skin Cancer?
First, let's tackle what skin cancer is exactly. It may sound like it's one uniform type of cancer, but in fact, there are 3 types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
All types usually happen as a result of exposing your skin to the sun. This is why you mostly hear of diagnoses on the face, hands, neck, or even ears.
The symptoms of each type of skin cancer will present slightly differently. However, a glaring red flag is when your skin experiences odd changes, such as lumps, lopsided moles and crusty scabs.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
While skin cancer is very common, it's an easily treatable disease, provided you catch it early enough.
This is why it's extremely important for you to pay close attention to the state of your skin. If you notice any differences, especially if they're rapid, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
At your appointment, the doctor will examine your skin and discuss your recent activities. If they feel it may be skin cancer, then they'll request a biopsy. After you get your results, you'll be able to tell if you have skin cancer, and if you do, what type it is.
Why Do Men Get Skin Cancer More Than Women Do?
As we've mentioned earlier, at some point, there are significantly more skin cancer diagnoses in men than in women.
So what accounts for this massive discrepancy? We'll explore more in detail below.
Ignorance of Skincare Details
In society, we view skincare as a more feminine activity. Think about it: when you see commercials for products such as face washes and lotions, the actors are usually female.
Women tend to look after their skin better. Because the condition of your skin is usually associated with how youthful you look, this is crucial in retaining a youthful look as you age.
When you look around you, men seem to accept aging more gracefully while women tend to seek out rejuvenating products. This leads to women inadvertently taking better steps to skin cancer prevention as they age.
Even when both sexes use sunscreen while outdoors, men tend to fall behind here as well. Not only do most not even use sunscreen, but when they do, they fail to use enough.
Plus, many aren't aware of what abnormalities of the skin look like. So even if they have signs and symptoms of skin cancer, they may not go to the doctor until the disease is a lot more serious.
Lack of SPF in Male Skincare Products
Again, women usually care more about skincare products than men do, which means for them, their products are stuffed with better benefits.
As a result, many commonly used makeup products (such as foundations, moisturizers, and BB creams) include SPF in it. "SPF" stands for "sun protection factor"; you might be familiar with it since you see it in sunscreen.
Because women use these products regularly (some even daily), they may be shielding themselves from the sun without even realizing it.
Since many men don't use skincare products, they don't reap the same benefits and are exposed to more UV rays.
There's an inherent difference between the skin of men and women. For men, their skin's thicker and has less fat right underneath. Also, they have more elastin and collagen.
As a result, it seems their skin reacts differently to UV rays. Scientists think male skin can't repair itself as well as female skin can, which may lead to higher instances of skin cancer in this sex.
How You Can Prevent Skin Cancer
While the best way to avoid getting skin cancer is to stay completely out of the sun, that's not very feasible, nor is it realistic. We have errands to run, work to go to, people to see, and sports to play.
The next best thing other than avoiding the sun completely is blocking out the UV rays as best as possible. When you're outdoors, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen; this blocks both UVB and UVA rays.
The SPF of the sunscreen shouldn't matter too much. In general, the higher, the better. But the most important thing is to reapply often so you ensure you haven't sweated it all off.
In addition, you can wear protective eyewear (such as UV-rated sunglasses), wide-brimmed hats, and long-sleeved shirts and pants.
To take it a step further, you can even purchase clothing that's tested for UV protection, such as the ones from BloqUV. Our garments use BloqTek, which is a fabric that has a minimum of SPF 50.
If possible, you can also schedule your activities for hours where the sun isn't as harsh.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
Getting skin cancer diagnosed can be scary, so you should take the proper precautions to protect yourself from the sun.
As you can see, not only is sunscreen important, but protective outerwear is as well. When you combine everything you can to repel the sun's harmful rays, you'll stand the best chance of preventing skin cancer while being able to carry on with your normal everyday activities.
If you're frequently outdoors and need adequate protection for the activities you do, then check out our range of outdoor activewear for men now.