Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The man tan

Jake Gibb, Olympic beach volleyball player is
a melanoma and testicular cancer survivor.
When I was in college, still an avid tanning bed user, my girlfriends and I used to giggle every time we saw a guy at a tanning salon. Call me old fashioned, but I've always preferred my men to be more rugged and outdoorsy. If a guy is more high maintenance than me (think waxed chest and designer denim)--I'll pass.

Come to find out, many of my guy friends have been to a tanning salon. And many of the ones who haven't are notorious for shunning sunscreen when they spend time outdoors. While I spend most of my time educating young women about the dangers of UV radiation, I wanted to take a moment to remind you: guys get skin cancer, too. Men are actually more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than women.

To quote a U.S. News article from a few years back:
"Why men? 'Part of it is because men tend to get more [ultraviolet] exposure because of their jobs, part of it is that they use sunscreen less, and part of it is later detection,' says Barbara Gilchrest, chair of the dermatology department at Boston University. Many of her male melanoma patients, she says, come in only after being nagged by family members. Forty-seven percent of men report they never use sunscreen, one survey found. That's part of the reason, no doubt, that researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say men have higher rates of sunburn."
I hate, hate, HATE to stereotype, but so many guys I know are (a) too cool to wear sunscreen or (b) totally invincible and don't need to go see a dermatologist--or so they think. Even if you do stay out of the sun, be careful that you don't fall into the latter category. Make skin checks part of your regular routine, especially as you age. I imagine that checking your back in the mirror every so often is less of a pain than an annual colonoscopy. There are undoubtedly people in this world who care about you, so please take care of yourself.

Steve Hock, father of these two, passed
away from melanoma on July 16, 2012.
Men: You are not immune.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for tossing a little testosterone into your blog. :) This is an EXCELLENT post that I hope is read by many of us stubborn men.

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    1. Thanks, Al. I'm glad that my hot pink text doesn't scare you away :)

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  2. You are our hero Katie...thanks for this post! We will share it to our FB fans!

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  3. I have a 15 year son who doesn't even question me when I tell him to reapply. He proudly announces to his friends during his swim breaks that they too should reapply.

    Great post!!!

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  4. Love your blog! I am also a melanoma survivor! Love to see the awareness being spread to everyone!

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  5. Great post! I really enjoy reading your blog - keep up the good work.
    Janice
    : )

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  6. Great blog, Katie!! A friend of mine posted this about being outside, in the shade and napping with babies... She's a doula that was comforting a very guilt-ridden mama who thought she was protecting her baby.

    A warning for mamas of the fair-skinned (especially our ginger babies); napping outside, even in the shade, can cause sunburns that will cause you and baby to feel terrible. Just heard from a mama with a sunburned baby who was in the shade the entire time...and the mommy guilt is pretty bad.

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