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Evaluating Skin Cancer Risk Among Military Personnel

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020

According to research published in Dermatologic Therapy, the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer appears to be higher in military personnel than in the general population. Ermira Vasili, MD, of the University of Medicine of Tirana in Albania, and colleagues sought to identify the significant risk factors for cutaneous cancer development within the military subpopulation.

“These data should guide us to prepare prevention and early detection strategies in this group,” the authors commented.

The study included 200 military personnel, including active-duty members, administrative members, Skanderbeg Military Academy students, and 1,000 non-military members selected at random from the general population to serve as a control group. In April 2019, participants completed a 19-item questionnaire, self-reporting data regarding general characteristics, skin type, habits, lifestyle, and hereditary risk.

The analysis identified an increased risk for both non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma in members of the military. A total of six significant variables for this group were identified: for non-melanoma skin cancer, age older than 50 (P = .048), consumption of more than two cups of coffee daily (P = .046), sunburn during childhood (P = .041), and a family history of skin cancer (P = .025); for melanoma, a fair skin phenotype (P = .043) and more than 20 dark moles on the upper extremities (P = .001). However, of note, the researchers found that coffee consumption of at least two cups per day seemed to be a protective factor against melanoma, and this finding requires further study. Within the general population, only two variables were determined to be significant prognostic factors for non-melanoma skin cancer development: age older than 50 (P = .0004) and/or a body mass index of more than 25 kg/m2 (P = .028).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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