Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer as an Occupational Disease

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Two to three million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer every year and, during the past 30 years, there has been an average yearly increase of 3–8% in white populations in Australia, Europe, the US, and Canada.

In Australia, the skin cancer capital of the world, a high burden of UVR exposure occurs in occupational settings. According to a 2014 analysis based on 2011–2012 data, 40.3% of Australians are potentially exposed to carcinogens in their workplace, with UVR being the most common exposure (37% of working males and 8% of working females). An earlier study from 2006 estimated that 34,000 non-melanoma skin cancers per year are due to occupational exposures in Australia. It is not possible to quantify risk in NZ because there is no routine recording of non-melanoma skin cancer incidence and occupational history, although it is well recognised that NZ outdoor workers are exposed to high levels of solar UVR.

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Source: Research Review Sunscreen Educational Series. Associate Professor Pascale Guitera, Dr Annika Smith (Melanoma Institute Australia), Dr Louise Reiche (New Zealand).

Learn more about skin cancer medicine in primary care at the next Skin Cancer Certificate Courses:

Skin Cancer Certificate Courses in Australia

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