Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with around 16,200 people diagnosed each year.
And in the last decade, the number of cases in men has increased by almost half (47%).
In a new study, researchers found a new link between higher levels of testosterone in the blood and increased risk of melanoma skin cancer in men.
The research was conducted by a team at Oxford University.
Scientists already knew men diagnosed with melanoma have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer and vice versa, which was a clue that there may be a common biological or behavioral cause.
This study shows that this link might be the hormone, testosterone.
In the study, the team analyzed UK Biobank data on testosterone from around 182,000 men and 122,000 postmenopausal women.
Their findings also supported previously known links between testosterone and prostate cancer in men, and breast and endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women.
But, because it’s hard to calculate how long people spend in the sun, the team says more research will be needed to determine if this new link is biological or if men with higher testosterone spend more time in the sun.
They also provide tips on sun safety and symptoms of melanoma:
In the UK, the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 11 am and 3 pm from mid-March to mid-October.
Think about protecting your skin: Spend more time in the shade. Cover up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses.
And use sunscreen with at least SPF15 and four or five stars. Use it generously, reapply regularly and use it in combination with shade and clothing.
Symptoms of melanoma skin cancer can include: A change in a patch of skin or a nail, A new growth or sore that won’t heal, A spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts, A mole or growth that bleeds, oozes, crusts or scabs, and Any other changes that aren’t normal for you.
If something doesn’t look or feel quite right, even if it’s not on this list, talk to your doctor.
The study is published in the International Journal of Cancer. One author of the study is Dr. Eleanor Watts.
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