Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 771–776

Early-life or lifetime sun exposure, sun reaction, and the risk of squamous cell carcinoma in an Asian population

  • Yen-Ching Chen
  • David C. Christiani
  • Huey-Jen Jenny Su
  • Yu-Mei Hsueh
  • Thomas J. Smith
  • Louise M. Ryan
  • Sheau-Chiou Chao
  • Julia Yu-Yun Lee
  • Yue-Liang Leon Guo
Original paper



It has been widely accepted that sun exposure is a risk factor of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) among fair-skinned populations. However, sun exposure and sun reaction have not been explored in Asians and no gender-specific data were available.


In a case–control study, 176 incident skin cancer cases were recruited from National Cheng-Kung University Medical Center from 1996 to 1999. Controls included 216 age-, gender-, and residency-matched subjects from the southwestern Taiwan. A questionnaire was administered to collect information on life style and other risk factors. Logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between sun exposure or sun reaction and the risk of SCC by gender.


Early-age (age 15 to 24) and lifetime sun exposure were significantly associated with increased risk of SCC in a dose–response pattern [odds ratio (OR) = 1.49–3.08, trend p = 0.009 and 0.0007, respectively]. After stratified by gender, the third tertile of early-age sun exposure was significantly associated with the SCC risk among men (OR = 3.08). The second and third tertiles of lifetime sun exposure was significantly associated with SCC risk among women (OR = 3.78 and 4.53, respectively). Skin reaction after 2-h sun exposure during childhood and adolescence was not significantly associated with the risk of SCC.


Lifetime sun exposure was more related to SCC risk in women, while early-age sun exposure was more relevant to men’s SCC risk. This may be attributable to different lifestyle between men and women.


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) Early age Lifetime Sun exposure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yen-Ching Chen
    • 1
  • David C. Christiani
    • 2
  • Huey-Jen Jenny Su
    • 3
  • Yu-Mei Hsueh
    • 4
  • Thomas J. Smith
    • 2
  • Louise M. Ryan
    • 5
  • Sheau-Chiou Chao
    • 6
  • Julia Yu-Yun Lee
    • 6
  • Yue-Liang Leon Guo
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Research Center for Genes, Environment, and Human Health, and Institute of Preventive Medicine, College of Public HealthNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, Department of Environmental HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Medical CollegeNational Cheng-Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan, ROC
  4. 4.Department of Public Health, School of MedicineTaipei Medical CollegeTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  5. 5.Department of BiostatisticsHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  6. 6.Dermatology DepartmentNational Cheng-Kung University HospitalTainanTaiwan, ROC
  7. 7.Environmental and Occupational MedicineNational Taiwan University College of Medicine and NTU HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  8. 8.Department of Environmental and Occupational MedicineNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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