Men’s Health Week: Highlighting Melanoma in Senior Men

Men’s Health Week is an effort to get men to focus on their own health – – and their loved ones to encourage them to do so. In commemoration of this important week, Senior Care Corner encourages men of all ages to participate in activities that will improve their health, such as regular health check-ups, preventive screenings, physical activity, smoking cessation, and a healthy diet.

We regularly post information on health and wellness for seniors and encourage our readers to look back through those posts.

Our focus, for Men’s Health Week, is to inform senior men of a risk that is not publicized as much as others and thus about which they may not be aware. The growing number of men who are being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, has become a health concern.

It was recently reported that older men are increasingly developing melanoma, largely because they are not using proper sun protection (sunscreen and protective clothing) or checking themselves for signs of skin cancer. The US Preventive Services Task Force reports that fair skinned men with atypical moles or more than fifty moles are a far greater risk for melanoma and should be screened and all others should remain alert to skin changes.

Many men spend time outdoors pursuing a variety of activities, including yard chores and sports, but are not following basic precautions to protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet light. Sun damage can occur with only fifteen minutes in the sun if you are unprotected.

Sun Protection & Melanoma Statistics

  • 29 percent of men surveyed reported protecting their skin while outside while 43 percent of women do.
  • 39 percent of men stated that they preferred to enjoy the sun and not worry about its harmful rays compared to 28 percent of women.
  • If caught and treated in the early stages before melanoma spreads to any lymph nodes, the survival rate is 98 percent.

Protecting Your Skin

  1. Use sunscreen with adequate SPF, a minimum of SPF 15 (higher is better) that protects both UVA and UVB rays of light. Re-apply your sunscreen after two hours, after swimming or any activity that causes you to sweat. Be aware that sunscreen expires, so check the date for freshness. Keep the sunscreen handy so you will use it regularly!
  2. Wear sunglasses when out in the sun, even when driving.
  3. Wear a large brimmed hat.
  4. Protect your lips with a lip balm containing SPF.
  5. Wear clothing that covers and protects skin from harmful rays.
  6. Avoid being out in the sun during peak sun exposure times between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm or stay in the shade. Remember that sun protection is needed whether it is cloudy or sunny, since clouds do not block harmful UV rays.
  7. Check your skin regularly for any changes, such as bleeding, freckles or moles changing, or any area of concern. Ask a family member to help you do a skin check.
  8. Visit a dermatologist for a check-up if any areas are noticed.

We will close with a special quote for Men’s Health Week – “To insure good health: Eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” — William Londen

We wish you the best of health!

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