MoleMap New Zealand has found that men are 10% less likely to first recognise a concerning mole than their female counterparts.
Analysis of 100 confirmed melanomas (both male and female patients) in a study by MoleMap found that there was a correlation between the location of a mole and the chance of self-diagnosis which could provide some explanation for why men struggle to spot the sinister moles on their bodies.
Skin cancer research from 1994 to 2004 shows that men are more than twice as likely to get melanoma on the harder to inspect area of their torso or back (41%), compared to only 19% in women, while women are twice as likely to get melanoma on their legs (39%) than men (15%).
Random spot checks proved to be a life-saver for many of the patients studied with men more likely to suffer from melanoma on parts of the body that are particularly tricky to inspect and monitor for gradual change. MoleMap found that 26% of patients were diagnosed with melanoma after a pro-active check up where they had come in with no particular mole of concern.
More alarmingly, the MoleMap research also found that 22% of melanomas were diagnosed on patients who visited MoleMap with ‘other’ lesions of concern (i.e. the melanoma diagnosed was not of concern but another lesion was).
These figures suggest that the need to check for change in shape, colour, texture or size in moles is a message that’s still failing to get through to some New Zealanders – particularly men.
Dr Mark Gray, a MoleMap dermatologist says it important for anyone who notices a strange looking mole or even feels a strange sensation in a lesion to trust their instincts because it may be something more sinister.
“Melanoma is often completely without symptoms. Left untreated, in severe cases the cancer can progress to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes or brain,” he says.
“My advice is to be vigilant about checking for these things and make sure if you have any concerns to see a professional.”