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Non-melanoma skin cancer risk for outdoor professions

Risk for non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), as well as risk-modifying behaviours vary between outdoor professions, suggesting a need for a tailored approach to prevention efforts based on professional needs, researchers report in Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (May 27, 2018 online ahead of print).

The study included 563 participants, 47% of whom were women. This included 348 outdoor workers—39% farmers, 35% gardeners, and 26% mountain guides—and 215 indoor workers.

NMSC was diagnosed in 33.3% of the mountain guides, 27.4% of the farmers, 19.5% of the gardeners, and 5.6% of the indoor workers.

Investigators found significant differences between the outdoor professions, with mountain guides at the highest risk for NMSC. As well, substantial differences between the professions were seen in skin cancer screening rates—indoor worker 61.4%, mountain guides 57.8%, farmers 31.9%, and gardeners 27.6%—daily ultraviolet radiation exposure during work, and protective behaviour including sunscreen use during work.

The authors conclude their findings suggest that tailoring prevention efforts to different professions based on their individual needs could help lower the global burden of NMSC. “Altitude and number of hours working outside seem to make the difference,” said lead author Dr. Alexander Zink, a researcher at the department of dermatology and allergy at the Technical University of Munich, in Germany, in a press release.

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