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Men more likely to get skin cancer urged to use suncreen

07/04/2015 01:25 EDT | Updated 07/04/2016 05:59 EDT
Discussions about sun damage and skin cancer often draw up images of young women and tanning beds, but it turns out men are actually more likely to get skin cancer, and less likely to slap on the sunscreen.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 57 Canadian men is expected to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In comparison, it says 1 in 74 women is expected to develop the disease.

According to Toronto dermatologist Dr. Sam Hanna, men put on sunscreen half as often as women. Their excuses vary, he said.

"The things I hear from my male patients are they don't like to put it on, it's inconvenient, it's messy," Hanna told Daybreak Kamloops.

"They may do other things in terms of sun avoidance or sun protection, like wearing long sleeves or hats, which certainly are part of it. But unfortunately, sunscreen is still something we need to figure out how to get men to use because we're not doing very well in terms of skin cancer rates, and deaths from skin cancer rates specifically."

Hanna says roughly two-thirds of deaths from melanoma are men. To get men to put on sunscreen, here are some of Hanna's tricks.

Take baby steps

"I don't expect somebody who's not used sunscreen for 65 years to suddenly get up every morning and start putting it on," Hanna said.

"I'd love that, but I'll tell them, 'Fine. Let's take the next time you go golfing, or the next time you go to the beach.' Let's use something like that and just make sure you're applying appropriately and we can build from there."

The health argument

"[I tell] somebody who's health-conscious and eats right and exercises, this is a component of health, and that sometimes has some traction," Hanna said.

Gather allies

"I'll often be sneaky and involve their partners in that, and get them to be my people on the inside to bug them a little bit about keeping their sunscreen on," Hanna said.

Listen to the interview: Men urged to use sunscreen

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