Men, especially those with lighter skin, are more likely than anybody else to get skin cancer, including melanoma—the deadliest kind of skin cancer.
When you think sun protection, you might think about a day at the beach. But over your lifetime, you get sun exposure doing everyday things like biking, working, running, or even mowing the lawn. Sun exposure is the main source of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause skin cancer. And UV exposure adds up over time, increasing your risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Every year, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, at a cost of about $8 billion. Melanoma causes around 9,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
Why Are Men More Likely Than Women to Get Skin Cancer?
Men tend to get more sun exposure than women. Men spend more time outside over their lifetimes than women, and they’re more likely to work outdoors than women. Women’s personal care products, like moisturizer and makeup, often contain sunscreen, while many products for men don’t.
About one-third of U.S. adults get sunburned each year. Sunburn, which can increase your risk of getting skin cancer, is common among white men, young adults, and men who tan indoors. When outside on a sunny day for more than an hour, only about 14% of men use sunscreen on both their face and other exposed skin.
Easy Ways to Protect Yourself
- It’s easy to protect yourself from UV exposure—
- Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat offer the best protection. If you’re wearing a baseball cap or short-sleeved shirt, make sure to put sunscreen on your ears, neck, and arms.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which are peak times for sunlight.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 on any exposed skin, and don’t forget to re-apply it every two hours, as well as after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- If you work outdoors, ask about sun protection at your job, like wearing sun-protective clothing.
- Avoid indoor tanning.