Increasing Prevalence of Skin Cancer in Men


Bo Coody, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner, Radiation Oncology

Choosing a Healthier Sunscreen

Physical Sunscreen*

  • Creates a physical barrier to deflect the sun rays
  • Highest safety profile, best for sensitive skin
  • Look for a product listing zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide as the only active ingredients
  • Often called “Mineral Sunscreen” or “Sunblock” on product labels
  • Avoid inhalation of spray-on sunscreens

Chemical Sunscreen

  • Creates a chemical barrier to absorb the sun rays
  • May irritate sensitive skin
  • Disruption of hormones shown in ocean life, unclear effects in humans
  • Limit use of products which contain oxybenzone, homosolate, octisalate and octinoxate
  • Avoid inhalation of spray-on sunscreens

Additional Tips to Decrease Your Risk of Skin Cancer

  • Minimize your exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.: this is when the sun is most intense
  • Protect yourself by using hats, sunglasses, umbrellas and shade
  • Eat foods high in antioxidants such as nuts, seeds, red/yellow/orange vegetables and fruits, leafy greens and berries

*Recommended by Goshen Health Naturopathic Doctors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top five most common types of cancer for men are prostate, lung, colorectal, urinary/bladder and skin. The occurrence rate of the top four types are decreasing, but the rate of occurrence of skin cancer is increasing. This growth is concerning, since skin cancer is also one of the most widely preventable types of cancer and can have serious health consequences. Even one serious sunburn increases the likelihood of developing skin cancer later.

A somewhat surprising fact is that men are more likely to contract skin cancer than women. The main cause of skin cancer is excessive exposure to UV radiation – the sun and tanning beds. UV radiation is not affected by the temperature or clouds, so protection is still required. Men typically expose more skin than women to UV radiation during outdoor activities, tasks, etc. Men are also less likely to use sunblock or sunscreen. According to the CDC, male teens and young adults engage in the riskiest behavior, but their older male mentors are only slightly better. 

Screenings for Skin Cancer

Right now, there is insufficient evidence from research to recommend regular skin screenings as part of preventive medical care to people without risk factors. Some practitioners may recommend it as part of regular medical exams. Others recommend you check your own skin regularly. For a self-exam, it is important that you become familiar with the appearance of all of your moles, freckles, spots and skin in general. Every month, grab a spouse, friend or mirror and look for changes in color, shape, thickening or irregularities. 

If you see anything that has changed or looks problematic, have it checked right away. Caught early, most skin cancers are treatable and curable. However, if not caught early, skin cancers can lead to disfigurement and death. If you have never had a screening, you can start regular self-exams today and consider talking to your medical provider about screening at your next regular exam. For those with elevated risk factors, such as a prior occurrence of skin cancer or a family history, regular professional medical screenings are necessary. 

Learn more about the screening options offered at Goshen Center for Cancer Care and our Warsaw location by visiting our website or call (888) 492-HOPE.