Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: A Continual Problem for Outdoor Workers
Posted: Friday, May 8, 2020
More evidence to support the importance of skin protection for outdoor workers emerged from a descriptive study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It revealed that almost 25% of an Italian Navy cohort examined had actinic keratosis. According to Caterina Foti, MD, PhD, of the University of Bari, Italy, and colleagues, “Actinic keratosis is nowadays considered by most [experts] as an early squamous cell carcinoma rather than a precancerous lesion.”
In 2016, 921 male military personnel (mean age = 40 years old) who participated in a screening campaign went on to complete a questionnaire and had total skin examinations conducted by dermatologists. Of the 217 workers found to have actinic keratosis, 187 had lesions in chronically sun-exposed skin areas, mostly the face (n = 149), scalp (n = 30), and hands (n = 8). Not surprisingly, “older age, outdoor occupation, longer working life, and fair skin seem[ed] to promote the development of actinic keratosis,” wrote the team.
Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation represents the main cause of actinic keratosis and skin cancer generally, emphasized Dr. Foti and co-researchers. “It seems necessary to launch awareness-raising campaigns to mitigate exposure to UV radiation by promoting workers’ education and use of personal protective equipment (eg, [skin-]covering clothes, hats, sunglasses, and sunblock; cessation of exposure in the mid-afternoon),” they stated. “Secondary prevention [would] include health surveillance performed by occupational physicians and dermatologists.”
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.