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Dermatologists are urging men to stop ignoring their risk of skin cancer

Photo: Men underestimate risk of skin cancer
A survey shows less than one in three Australian men consider themselves at risk of skin cancer, raising concern among dermatologists.

Australian men are being urged to stop ignoring their risk of skin cancer, after new research showed most blokes underestimate how vulnerable they are to the sun.

A survey released by the Australasian College of Dermatologists shows less than one in three men consider themselves vulnerable to the disease despite most (82 per cent) having at least one of the known risk factors: fair hair, skin that burns easily and spending time outdoors.

Sixty-one per cent of participants said they had delayed a doctor visit despite having concerns while more than a quarter of full-time workers claimed to be too busy to have a skin check.
President of the ACD, Associate Professor Andrew Miller, says men need a reality check and to be reminded that they can die from skin cancer if it's not caught early.

"The earlier they are diagnosed the better the outcome, 90 per cent of melanomas are cured simply by being cut out," said Prof Miller.

He said it's the "weekend warriors" - those who are generally only out in the sun outside of work hours - that tend to ignore the sun-smart messaging.

"If you look at skin cancer risk it's higher in office workers," said Prof Miller.

"They are just not taking the care that they should (when in the sun)".

An estimated two-in-three Australians will develop skin cancer by 70 years of age - a disease primarily caused by exposure to the sun's UV rays.

Professor David Whiteman, deputy director, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute says the rises noticeably at 50 years of age.

He described the survey findings as very concerning.

"Melanomas are a deadly form of skin cancer and can quickly spread to other areas of the body," he said.

"It's crucial men do not delay a visit to their doctor if they notice changes in their skin, no matter how busy they might be."

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