Why men are at greater risk for skin cancer

We usually think about skin cancer in the summer, but the threat is still very real in the colder months, especially for men.

Turns out men are at greater risk for skin cancer than women.

Thomas Stockdale has spent a lifetime in the sun. He loves being on the golf course and watching birds in the wild.

But for the last 15 years, he's been paying for it. He usually has two appointments a year with a dermatologist and he finds something every time.

Thomas has had dozens of moles and minor tumors removed from his skin. But spending so much time in the sun may not be the only reason.

Researchers now say part of the problem may simply be that Thomas is a man.

Dr. Greg Lesinski, with the James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute says, "Male and female skin appear to have different levels of the antioxidant called catalase. And this serves to limit damage from the sun, from ultraviolet light, that can lead to skin cancer."

The researchers launched this battle of the sexes over skin cancer and noticed a profound difference.

Not only did female mice naturally have much more of the protective antioxidant in their skin, but when it was applied to males, their tumors actually improved.

And while these findings were noticed in the lab, it's easy to see the potential in humans.

Dr. Nicholas Sullivan with the James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute says, "You could envision treating topically, on the skin, with an antioxidant to prevent, or even treat some of these patients."

It might even lead to his and her sunscreens and to new therapies that use an antioxidant potentially found more in women to treat the most common kind of cancer known to man.

Remember, you're at risk for sun damage even in the winter months. It doesn't have to be hot to be bright, especially when sunlight is reflected off of snow.

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