Shoalhaven residents are advised to look at a new study carried out by Cancer Council NSW.
The study found that men who survived melanoma have a higher risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis later in life, compared to the general population. The findings highlight the importance of sun protection.
Cancer Council Spokesperson Jarrod Flynn said for the study they looked at looked at all prostate cancer and melanoma diagnoses between 1972 and 2008.
“There were nearly 144,000 men diagnosed with either cancer in the study period,” he said.
“Of the men first diagnosed with melanoma, 2114 were subsequently diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“This means that men with a previous diagnosis of melanoma are at a 25 percent increased risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis.”
The findings are especially important in an area like the Shoalhaven, where rates of melanoma and prostate cancer are high.
For Australian men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer, and melanoma the third most common one.
Solar UV exposure is the leading environmental cause of melanoma – it causes over 95 percent of melanoma.
With prostate cancer, the few established risk factors are generally considered non-modifiable (e.g. family history and advanced age), but several studies have suggested that solar UV exposure may be a potential risk factor for prostate cancer, too.
“Our results suggest that sun exposure may also play a role in prostate cancer and that protecting yourself from the sun is, therefore, all the more important,” Mr Flynn said.
Cancer Council NSW encourages Australians to protect themselves from the sun by slipping on clothing that covers the shoulders, arms and legs, slopping on SPF30+ or higher broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen, slapping on a broad-brimmed hat that that protects the face, ears and neck, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses.
Mr Flynn said the findings raise the potential for local doctors to discuss future prostate cancer risk with men diagnosed with melanoma.