Skin Cancer

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

This is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it includes basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. These tend to be more common with age, and they are related to sun exposure.


Malignant melanoma is a much rarer but more serious form of skin cancer. Although this disease can spread, most cases are caught early, and it is a treatable illness.



45,000 men per year are diagnosed with melanoma; about  6,200 men will die from this disease every year.

The incidence of melanoma in men has increased 17 times since the 1950s.


Risk factors for Skin Cancer

1.     Excessive sun exposure

2.     Family history of melanoma

3.     Fair skin and hair

4.     Many large or irregular moles


Preventing Skin Cancer

As we say in Australia, “slip, slop, slap”

Slip on a shirt

Slop on some sunscreen

Slap on a hat


Screening for Skin Cancer

An annual check-up, including a skin exam, with a primary care provider is helpful for most men.

For men at higher risk, at least an annual visit with a dermatologist is recommended.


Symptoms of Potential Skin Cancer

Skin cancer usually appears as a painless mark on the skin, which appears different from others. It may bleed or appear to be an ulcer. Remember the “ABCDE” of suspicious skin lesions:

Asymmetry: an asymmetric lesion—bigger on one side than the other

Borders: irregular or blurred borders

Color: mixed or inconsistent coloring

Diameter: greater than 6 millimeters or ¼ inch (about the size of a pencil eraser)

Evolving: a lesion that is growing and changing over time

If you find a suspicious lesion, don’t panic. Even if it is melanoma, this is often a treatable illness. Many cases are treatable just by removing the skin lesion.