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Men get their marching orders!

Thursday 3 March, 2011 by Cairín

This Sunday I'm heading down to Docklands for the Emily Tapp Melanoma Foundation's annual March for Melanoma at Waterfront City Piazza.

The aim of the 5km event is to support melanoma survivors and raise awareness about skin cancer. The theme of this year's event is ‘melanoma and men' highlighting the fact that men are significantly more likely to develop skin cancer - an issue worthy of everyone's attention.

Recent Cancer Council research showed that two thirds of skin cancer deaths are males. Why?

Well, we know that although girls are more likely to deliberately tan compared to boys, boys are more likely to get sunburnt as they spend time outside in peak UV times and are less likely to use sunscreen.

Not to generalise, but guys also tend to get all the outdoor gigs when it comes to working too. Farming, forestry, fishing, construction all tend to be male dominated in terms of gender. These industries tend to have the highest exposure to sunlight on a typical workday, therefore outdoors face an increased risk of skin cancer.

Based on my personal observations, it rings true that men are distinctly less concerned with sun protection than women. Perhaps this is down to the fact that many men, like red wine, actually improve with age.

Us ladies tend to wise up to the damaging effects of the sun much faster as we start to see the beginnings of crow's feet start to stretch across our face. Cue search for every lotion and potion under the sun that might magically reverse the tell-tale evidence of a sunbaking past.

As much as 80% of premature facial aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, is due to sun exposure. So forget the fancy caffeine infused anti-aging roll on gadget: 30+ sunscreen is the only way to avoid skin aging. Skin damage is irreversible but remember - sun protection at any age helps reduce the effects of overexposure to UV radiation and reduces your risk of skin cancer.

For all the men out there who may be less concerned about maintaining supple skin as soft as a baby's bottom, then think about this - skin cancer kills. Don't be a victim. Man up and fight it!

Here are some top tips to give your skin a fighting chance against cancer.

  • Each day, check out the UV Alert on the SunSmart website to find the times of the day when sun protection is needed wherever you are in Australia. The UV Alert is also available as a free app for iPhones. Whenever it's three and above use a combination sun protection steps:
  • Slop on 30 + sunscreen. For best results, apply 20 minutes before leaving the house and reapply every two hours throughout the day.
  • Keep the lobster look at bay by embracing sombrero fashion or become a class act with a Mad Men retro style fedora hat! Wear some sunnies to protect your eyes and try to grab some shade when you're on your on you're a break!
  • Lastly, take the time to check your skin every few months. If you notice lumps or sores that don't heal, coughs that won't go away or moles that have changed shape, size or colour, it's a good idea to get them checked out.

March for Melanoma takes place this Sunday 6 March. Support your fellow man and join up. The walk starts at 3:30pm and participants can register online or from 12pm on the day. For more information, check out: www.marchformelanoma.com.au

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