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Does Occupational UV Exposure Increase the Risk of Developing Aggressive Skin Cancer?

By: Justine Landin, PhD
Posted: Friday, October 30, 2020

Occupational hazards such as exposure to solar UV radiation may increase the risk of developing a more severe type of non-melanoma skin cancer, according to research published in Maedica: A Journal of Clinical Medicine. In fact, outdoor workers exposed to UV radiation appeared to be 15 times more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer with aggressive histopathologic characteristics compared with indoor workers.

“Our finding emphasizes the importance of appropriate dermatological screening for all outdoor workers exposed to solar UV radiation,” stated George-Sorin Tiplica, MD, of ‘Carol Davila’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania, and colleagues.

This retrospective study included 51 patients with non-melanoma skin cancer who were either outdoor workers (n = 25) or indoor workers (n = 26). These patients had previously undergone surgical excision of lesions that were followed by histopathologic examination for confirmation of either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. High-risk characteristics of tumors were analyzed, including the location and size of lesions, aspect of borders, primary or recurrent lesions, as well as histopathologic criteria (eg, subtype, ulceration, pigment association, desmoplastic reaction, and grades of associated actinic elastosis).

Outdoor workers were 4.66 times more likely to develop aggressively sized and located non-melanoma skin cancer (P = .013) and had a 24-fold risk of developing the disease compared with indoor workers (P < .001). Notably, outdoor workers were 15 times more likely to exhibit high-risk histopathologic subtypes than controls (P < .001). Furthermore, actinic elastosis of grades 2 or 3 were more prominent in outdoor workers than in controls (P < .001), but there were no differences in ulceration or pigment association of tumors across groups. Overall, outdoor workers were significantly more likely than indoor workers to develop a more aggressive type of non-melanoma skin cancer, and the authors suggested this difference may be due to occupationally required UV exposure.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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