Outdoor work and skin cancer incidence: a registry-based study in Bavaria

Abstract

Objective

To analyse the association between occupational ultraviolet (UV) light exposure and skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, BCC; squamous cell carcinoma, SCC; cutaneous malignant melanoma, CMM) based on data from the Bavarian population-based cancer registry.

Methods

The population-based cancer registry of Bavaria (Germany) provided data on incident cases of BCC, SCC, and CMM, respectively, during the period 2001 until 2005. Eleven Bavarian districts with complete skin cancer registration were included in this analysis based on 2,156,336 person years. Cases were assigned to “indoor”, “mixed indoor/outdoor”, and “outdoor” exposure categories according to their job title. We computed age-specific and age-adjusted incidence rates of BCC (n = 1,641), SCC (n = 499), and CMM (n = 454) by work type, and the relative risk (RR) of skin cancer occurrence for “outdoor” and “mixed indoor/outdoor” workers, respectively, compared to “indoor” workers.

Results

The risk of BCC was substantially elevated in male (RR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.2–3.9) and female (RR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.8–4.1) outdoor workers compared to male and female indoor workers, respectively. We also found an elevated risk of similar magnitude for SCC in male (RR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.4–4.7) and female (RR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.6–8.1) outdoor workers compared to male and female indoor workers, respectively. CMM risk was not significantly associated with outdoor work.

Conclusion

Our study confirms previous reports on the increased risk of BCC and SCC in outdoor workers compared to indoor workers.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to express their gratitude towards all Bavarian patients, doctors, dentists, regional cancer registries, and towards the confidentiality office of the Bavarian cancer registry for providing and processing the cancer notifications that were used as the basis for this study.

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Correspondence to M. Radespiel-Tröger.

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Radespiel-Tröger, M., Meyer, M., Pfahlberg, A. et al. Outdoor work and skin cancer incidence: a registry-based study in Bavaria. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 82, 357 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-008-0342-0

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Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Skin
  • Incidence
  • Risk
  • Outdoor work
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Occupation