Skin cancer death rates have TRIPLED in men since 1970s

‘Sun’s out, guns out’ culture behind skin cancer deaths TRIPLING in men since 1970s

  • Charity found UK men were 69% more likely to die from skin cancer than women
  • Experts say men going topless in warmer weather could explain the difference 
  • Death rates from melanoma in men were found to have grown 219% since 1973
  • Warning for Brits to be sun safe comes with hot weather forecast this weekend 

‘Sun’s out, guns out’ culture could explain why skin cancer death rates have tripled among men in the last 50 years, experts say.

Cancer Research UK found that since 1972, melanoma fatalities have risen by 219 per cent in men, compared to an increase of 76 per cent in women.

The charity believes the rise of cheap package holidays may be a factor, with people exposed to stronger UV rays in sunnier countries.

But it does not explain the difference in sexes.

Cancer Research said skin cancers are also more often found on men’s torsos than on other body parts – which is likely due to them going shirtless. 

However, experts also said men’s overconfidence in thinking the sun was not strong enough to burn them could also be a factor.

Figures suggest men are 69 per cent more likely to die from skin cancer every year than women — with 1,400 male deaths compared to 980 female.

Going shirtless this weekend? You may want to reconsider. In a warning ahead of what is expected to be a warm weekend Cancer Research UK saying soaring skin cancer death rates in men could be partly explained by men going topless in the sun

An ‘amber’ extreme heat Met Office warning covers much of England and Wales on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Experts says there could be a danger to life or potential serious illness, from the heat

There are nearly 17,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the UK each year, making it the firth most common cancer, with some 2,000 deaths per annum.

Survival rates depends on when the skin cancer is found, with an early diagnosis the better.


Sunburn increases a person’s risk of skin cancer.

It can happen abroad or in the UK. 

To stay sun safe, experts recommend people:

  • Seek shade between 11am and 3pm, which is when the sun’s rays are typically strongest
  • Wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes, and again just before, UV exposure
  • Opt for water-resistant sunscreen if necessary and reapply after swimming, sweating or using a towel 
  • Cover up with protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Be extra careful with babies and young children. Infants under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight
  • Do not use sunbeds or sunlamps 
  • Checks moles and skin for any changes 

Source: NHS Choices

Cancer Research, alongside sun cream maker Nivea Sun, have issued their warning in anticipation of thousands of shirtless British men flocking to the seaside and parks this weekend to enjoy the predicted warmer weather. 

NHS data shows 12 per cent of men with skin cancer are diagnosed with a later stage form of the disease, compared to 8 per cent of women. 

They are also more likely to develop cancers on their torso or back, which adds to the theory that going topless is the biggest risk factor.

However, a survey of 2,000 men from Nivea Sun also suggested overconfidence might be playing a role.

Despite 84 per cent of men knowing getting sunburnt increases their risk of skin cancer, a quarter did not always protect themselves from the sun’s rays. 

When asked why they didn’t take precautions a quarter of these men said they did not think the sun was strong enough to burn their skin.  

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said the fact that six Britons died each day from melanoma highlighted the importance of staying safe in the sun.

‘We all need to take steps to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays,’ she said. 

‘Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of skin cancer.’

Britain is set to have balmy weekend of sunny weather with mercury is only set to soar further next week with 39C (100F) expected from Monday.

Ms Mitchell urged Britons to take precautions to avoid becoming another melanoma statistic. 

‘This weekend remember to spend some time in the shade, cover up with clothing and regularly apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and 4 or 5 stars,’ she said.  

‘And if you notice any unusual changes to a patch of skin or nail, don’t put off telling your doctor. 

‘In most cases it’s not cancer, but if it is, an early diagnosis can make all the difference.’

In total, 87.4 per cent of people diagnosed with melanoma survive for a decade or more. 

Treatment depends on when it is spotted. If caught early surgery to remove the cancer is usually successful. 

More advanced cases usually involve using drugs to slow the spread of the cancer.

In the US nearly 90,000 cases of melanoma are spotted each year, with about 8,000 deaths. 

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