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Male skin cancer deaths double

The number of men dying from the most deadly form of skin cancer has doubled in the last 30 years, figures have shown.

In the late 1970s, fewer than 400 (1.5 per 100,000) men died from malignant melanoma but that figure is now more than 1,100 (3.1 per 100,000).

Among the over-65s, death rates among men have risen from 4.5 per 100,000 to 15.2 per 100,000 in the same period.

Cancer Research says that too many men wait for their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen.

Incidence rates of malignant melanoma have risen dramatically among both sexes since the 1970s, and even though more women are diagnosed with the disease, more men die from it.

Death rates for women of all ages have risen more slowly from 1.5 per 100,000 to 2.2 per 100,000.

Data released in April showed people in their 60s and 70s are around five times more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than their parents were 30 years ago.

Many older people now experiencing skin cancer would have been enjoying cheap package holidays in the 1970s.

Caroline Cerny, Cancer Research UK's SunSmart manager, said: "These figures show that a worryingly high number of men are dying unnecessarily from malignant melanoma because of the rapidly rising numbers diagnosed with the disease.

"Preventing the disease developing in the first place will help stop this trend and save lives.

"To curb this huge rise in deaths from malignant melanoma it's more important than ever that people are aware of the dangers of too much sun.

"Too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole."

More than 10,400 cases of the deadly cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK.

The government's care services minister, Paul Burstow, said: "The rise in skin cancer deaths among men is worrying and highlights how important it is for everyone to protect themselves from overexposure to sun.

"Seeing many people with sunburn from the recent sunny weather is a reminder of how easy it is to damage your skin.

"We should all keep a careful eye on our skin.

"Shrugging off any changes in a mole's appearance could put your life at risk."

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