Beauty and health grow more interrelated with each passing day as consumers recognize that no amount of makeup or plastic surgery can replace their health and the natural glow that comes from conscientious grooming, good posture and self-confidence. As a radiation oncologist for more than 25 years, I have seen the traumatic impact to the skin, scalp and hair that comes with skin cancer treatments. I would not wish the side effects from radiation therapy and chemotherapy on anyone. While a patient’s primary concern is to treat the cancer, the damage to appearance and self-confidence that comes with treatment does not help the positive outlook that may promote recovery.
- Skin cancer affects men more than women, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.Because they are more likely to have occupational exposure to the sun, men over 40 acquire more sun exposure over time. This could change as more women enter occupations traditionally held by men, but sun exposure is definitely not a place where women want to achieve equality! Despite these higher rates in men, melanoma is the most frequent cancer of all cancers
in women aged 25 to 29, probably because of (ultraviolet) tanning. Research also shows men simply take sun protection less seriously than women do, in part because sun-protection products are more frequently advertised in women’s magazines.
- Geography and race play a role in rates of skin cancer. Australians have higher skin cancer rates, for example, than Europeans do because of Australia’s continental location below the equator and its proximity to a hole in the ozone layer. The Australian government launched a public education campaign in 1980 to encourage smart sun protection. The rate of new cases in Australia is beginning to drop. Race has a role. Melanoma is less common in African-Americans, Asians and Latinos, yet these populations experience more deaths because their skin cancers are detected far later in the disease process.