Burden of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational sun exposure in Canada

Abstract

Purpose

Outdoor workers are exposed daily to solar ultraviolet radiation, an important contributor in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer. This study aimed to quantify the health burden of non-melanoma skin cancers among outdoor workers in Canada.

Methods

Solar ultraviolet radiation exposure and estimates of exposure levels were applied to employment information from Canada census data to determine the exposed population in the risk exposure period (1961–2001). Risk estimates were drawn from meta-analyses selected based on quality and relevance to the current study. Population-attributable fractions were calculated using Levin’s equation and attributable cases were estimated based on incidence data reported by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Results

In 2011, 6.31% (4556 cases) of non-melanoma skin cancer cases were estimated to be attributable to occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation. The majority of these cases occurred in men in the agriculture or construction industries.

Conclusions

These estimates of the burden of non-melanoma skin cancer in Canada identify the need for further prevention efforts, particularly in agriculture and construction. Introducing workplace sun safety measures could be an important area for policy development.

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Abbreviations

BCC:

Basal cell carcinoma

CI:

Confidence interval

JEM:

Job exposure matrix

NMSC:

Non-melanoma skin cancer

OR:

Odds ratio

PAF:

Population attributable fraction

Pr(E):

Proportion of workers exposed

REP:

Risk exposure period

RR:

Relative risk

SCC:

Squamous cell carcinoma

UVR:

Ultraviolet radiation

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Funding

The Burden of Occupational Cancer Research presented in this report was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Multi-Sector Team Grant in Prevention Research (#701285). Occupational carcinogen exposure estimates were provided by CAREX Canada, which is funded by the Canadian Partnership against Cancer.

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Correspondence to Cheryl E. Peters.

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Peters, C.E., Kim, J., Song, C. et al. Burden of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational sun exposure in Canada. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 92, 1151–1157 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-019-01454-z

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Keywords

  • Occupational health
  • Skin cancer
  • Non-melanoma
  • Solar radiation
  • Burden