Melanoma Awareness, Skin Cancer

Men over 55 are most at risk for developing skin cancer

2017 study shows Queensland men at highest risk of skin cancer in Australia

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 23/01/18
Men at highest risk of skin cancer

Over the years, there has been a rampant increase in skin cancer cases all over the world. Men over the age of 55 and living in Queensland, Australia have the highest risk of developing skin cancer. This is according to a recent study published on October 16 2017 (Volume 2017 issue 8) of The Medical Journal of Australia.

Australia already has the highest rates of skin cancer worldwide. But people living in Queensland, are at an especially high risk.

Scientists from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute found that around half of all Australian men, who have reached age 70 and have already been treated for skin cancer, are bound to have another excision treatment within four years.

Key findings of the study

  • Around 74% of all skin cancer removal cases came from only 47% of Australians already treated for skin cancer.
  • A higher rate of multiple skin cancers in residents of Queenslanders than any other state. In Queensland, skin cancer rates were nearly two times the national average and nearly three times higher than Victoria and Tasmania.
  • A higher frequency of more than one case of skin cancer removal.
  • Around 7% of all Australians over 20 years old experienced the removal of non-melanoma skin cancer between the years 2011 and 2014.
  • Half of these people had multiple skin cancers cut out.
  • A higher frequency of more than one case of skin cancer or multiple lesions in patients.
  • A higher rate of multiple skin cancers removed in men than women; especially in men over 70 years old.

Queensland residents living closer to the equator and presumably getting more exposure to the sun had a 60% higher skin cancer rate than the rest of the Australian population. A good example is Brisbane, which lies around 1,889 miles to the equator and closer to the sun than any other part of the world.

The research also identified the patients' age-related and regional characteristics for those who had a removal of a cancerous skin lesion. According to David Whiteman, cancer control group leader of the QIMR Berghofer study, in Queensland the rates were almost double the national average and around three times as much as Tasmania and Victoria.

Whiteman said, "It is a reminder that skin cancer is really common and it is going to become more common."

Men over 55 have the highest risk of developing skin cancer

Above: Men over the age of 55 and living in Queensland, Australia have the highest risk of developing skin cancer.

Australia’s skin cancer legacy

Over the past four years, Australians have had over 183,000 skin cancers removed.

More than 95,000 hospital admissions in Australia every year are due to squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and basal cell carcinomas (BCCs). This has also accounted to over 500 deaths.

These types of skin cancers are due to long-term, chronic sun damage, therefore, those getting them are typically in their 50s through their 70s. The rates also seem to go up to nearly ten-fold as people age. What this means is that those in their 70s today who have developed skin cancers probably had too much sun exposure 30 to 50 years ago.

According to Brisbane GP, Dr. Richard Johns, “It is a legacy of past sun exposure practices from a couple of decades ago, when brown was beautiful and lying about on the beach and getting a tan was considered a healthy thing to do."

Because of this, there's a high need for vigilance for this particular skin cancer patient age group since they suffer the risk of developing more lesions in the coming years. The sooner they receive screening and treatment, the lesser the risk of them incurring any significant skin damage or cancer spreading even further.

Skin and mole check at Molemap

Above: Get a regular skin check to catch skin cancer at an early stage.

Skin cancer prevention

It is worth noting that skin cancer is preventable. To protect your skin, it is important to be more mindful of the sun by wearing protective hats, using sunscreen, and avoiding peak sunlight hours.

Sun protection should always be a priority. Check your skin frequently or consult your doctor/specialist if you spot anything unusual.

Use our quick and free MoleMap risk assessment tool

Note that you can develop skin cancer even when vigilantly following the Cancer Council’s sun prevention message Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide. It is important to identify your risk for developing skin cancer by using our free risk assessment tool.

If you suspect you have skin cancer or are a high risk of developing it, early detection through MoleMap — the world's most thorough and trust skin cancer detection — is vital so you can begin treatment right away.

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