Male Golfers Over 50 At High Risk For Melanoma

The MFNE has made it their mission to keep older men informed about the dangers of melanoma.

Male golfers over the age of 50 are at risk for melanoma. Golfers bench image via Shutterstock.

Male golfers over the age of 50 are at risk for melanoma. Golfers bench image via Shutterstock.

At the Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE)’s 13th annual golf tournament this week, the focus was less on golf and more on preventing one of the biggest dangers for male golfers over 50: melanoma.

As part of the day’s events, Tom Reilly, a Stage III melanoma survivor, a MFNE board member, and a golf tournament committee member, shared his story. According to a release:

“A resident of Hingham, MA, Tom (a gentleman in his 50’s) discovered a melanoma when he sat on a rocking chair and felt a pain in his back.  Tom’s daughter was a dermatology resident at the time and and recommended he see a doctor immediately.  After many rounds of treatment Tom is now a survivor and has become a strong advocate for melanoma prevention and skin protection.”

26-year-old Colin Shriver, a survivor of a Stage III ulceratic tumor on his neck, also spoke about melanoma prevention.

Men who play golf are particularly susceptible to melanoma, which is the most deadly form of skin cancer. Exposure to excessive UV rays in the form of sunlight causes melanoma, so golfers are urged to wear sunscreen and stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible, especially during the summer months. The MFNE also encourages wearing sun protection clothing during golf and knowing your moles so that you can head to the doctor if you see a mole that looks strange.

The release reported that men over 50 are twice as likely as women to develop and die from melanoma, making them the highest risk group for the disease. Half of all melanoma deaths in the U.S. are in men over the age of 50.

The good news is that if melanoma is caught early, it’s curable. Prevention and early detection are both key to surviving. According to a video released by the MFNE, six out of seven cases of melanoma are caught early enough that they can be removed, which will save the patient’s life.