Cancer experts say the rates of melanoma in men and women are decreasing but the good news end there.
They say there has been a surge in the rate of deaths from the disease among men despite the improving number of cases.
Chair of the National Skin Cancer Committee Dr Terry Slevin says the problem could be rooted in Australian “blokey culture”.
“A bloke starts putting on some sunscreen with some moisturiser and he gets called a “metrosexual”. It makes no sense”.
He says that culture needs to change.
“In the Australian sun, when we’re the skin cancer champions of the world, unfortunately it’s time that blokes got over this macho stuff and started actually looking after their skin properly because it is genuinely a matter of life and death.”
But it’s not just a problem for men in Australia. In Britain, where there’s been an unusually warm and sunny summer, similar results have been seen.
Professor of Dermatology at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, says early detection is also a problem British men.
“Melanoma in men is most common on the back and it’s just difficult to see.”
But that doesn’t explain it all. Professor Newton-Bishop says there appears to be some bio-chemical reason why the mortality rate is higher in men.
“Men seem to deal with it less well. There seems to be something different about the way their bodies interact with melanoma”.
The Australian Cancer Council doesn’t have any results that support that theory but agrees it’s time men started taking it more seriously.
The push for a greater awareness of the benefits of early diagnosis of melanoma comes as ahead of the Council’s Daffodil Day fundraiser on Friday August 23rd.