As part of Melanoma Monday, observed on May 1, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) encourages women to check both their partners and themselves for signs of skin cancer.

May is also Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.

According to a media release from the AAD, research suggests that men over 50 have a higher risk than the general population does of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Research also suggests that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others, and that men assisted by women during skin exams are less likely to miss skin lesions than women assisted by men.

Per the release, an AAD survey of 1,250 married women age 40-64 notes that most women don’t currently assist their male partners with skin cancer detection, even though many of them believe they’re more observant than the men in their lives:

  • Forty-five percent of respondents reported that they would be more likely than their husband to notice a suspicious spot on his skin, and 35% reported that they actually had noticed a suspicious spot on their husband’s skin before he did.
  • Two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they examine their own skin for signs of skin cancer at least once a year, while only 44% help their husband do the same.
  • Just 37% of respondents reported that their husband examines his own skin at least once a year, and another 29% weren’t sure if their husband conducts annual skin self-exams.

“Because men over 50 have an increased risk of melanoma, it’s important for them to conduct regular skin self-exams to detect the disease in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable,” says board-certified dermatologist Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD, in the release. “Since it can be difficult to examine some parts of your body on your own, it’s best to ask a partner for help.”

In a new video, “Check Him Out” the AAD encourages women to help their male partners examine their skin for signs of skin cancer. The humorous piece demonstrates three common scenarios in which a wife is more observant than her husband before reminding women to regularly check their male partner’s skin for new or suspicious spots.

“While women help their male partners in so many ways, the AAD’s recent survey shows that less than half of married women age 40-64 help the men in their lives look for signs of skin cancer,” Lim adds in the release. “We hope this video encourages women to check their partners and check themselves. If you notice any suspicious spots on your skin or your partner’s, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, see a board-certified dermatologist.”

SPOT Skin Cancer is the AAD’s skin cancer detection and prevention campaign. The website includes instructions on how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes in one’s skin, and find skin cancer screening locations.

[Source: American Academy of Dermatology]