Outdoor jobs carry risks of skin cancer
You need to be more cautious if your job includes outdoor work as a new study suggests that different outdoor professions may carry different risks for non-melanoma skin cancer.
According to the researchers, one of the main risk factors for non-melanoma skin cancer – the most common cancer worldwide – is solar ultraviolet radiation.
This has led to the recognition of non-melanoma skin cancer as an occupational disease for outdoor workers in several countries. However, outdoor professions are a very heterogeneous group with diverse daily activities and associated ultraviolet radiation exposure, the researcher said.
The study, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, recruited 563 participants (47 per cent women) consisting of 348 outdoor workers (39 per cent farmer, 35 per cent gardener, 26 per cent mountain guides) and 215 indoor workers.
Non-melanoma skin cancer was diagnosed in 33.3 per cent of mountain guides, 27.4 per cent of farmers, 19.5 per cent of gardeners and in 5.6 per cent of indoor workers.
Significant differences were seen between the outdoor professions with mountain guides at the highest risk, the researcher said.
Substantial differences between the professions were also seen in skin cancer screening rates (indoor worker 61.4 per cent, mountain guides 57.8 per cent, farmers 31.9 per cent, gardeners 27.6 per cent), daily ultraviolet radiation exposure during work, and protective behaviour such as sunscreen use during work, the researchers added.
"Altitude and number of hours working outside seem to make the difference. Adjust your sun protection accordingly," said lead author Alexander Zink from the Technical University of Munich, in Germany.
The researchers also suggested that tailoring prevention efforts to different professions based on their individual needs could help lower the global burden of non-melanoma skin cancer.