Seventy percent more men in the UK are dying from malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than women.

New figures from Cancer Research UK show that death rates from the disease are 3.4 per 100,000 men compared to 2.0 per 100,000 women.

This is despite the fact that roughly the same number of each sex is diagnosed with the condition every year.

The obvious explanation is that men are getting diagnosed at a more advanced stage because of putting off seeing a doctor.

However, CR UK dermatologist Professor Julia Newton-Bishop says there are also "strong biological reasons behind the differences and we’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways".

Also, melanomas tend to develop in different areas - on the arms and legs in women and back and chest for men - which may make the disease harder to spot and so delay diagnosis.

According to the charity, the trend has been ongoing for some time. Since the early 70s, death rates in men have rocketed 185% compared to 55% in women, and the gap in death rates is expected to widen even further, it said.

On the plus side, it emerged last month that, overall, 80% of UK patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma will now survive their disease, compared with five out of 10 in the early 70s.