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Occup Med (Lond). 2004 Oct;54(7):458-63.

Occupational skin cancers.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK. david.gawkrodger@sth.nhs.uk

Abstract

Skin cancer due to occupation is more common than is generally recognized, although it is difficult to obtain an accurate estimate of its prevalence. Over the past two centuries, occupational skin cancers have particularly been due to industrial exposure of men (it seems more so than women) to chemical carcinogens such as polycyclic hydrocarbons (e.g. from coal tar products) or to arsenic. Industrial processes have improved in most Western countries to limit this type of exposure, but those with outdoor occupations are still exposed to solar ultraviolet irradiation without this being widely recognized as an industrial hazard. Ionizing radiation such as X-rays can also cause skin cancer. Occupational skin cancers often resemble skin tumours found in non-occupational subjects, e.g. basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, but some pre-malignant lesions can be more specific and point to an occupational origin, e.g. tar keratoses or arsenical keratoses. An uncommon but well-recognized cause of occupational skin cancer is that which results from scar formation following an industrial burn. In the future it will be necessary to focus on preventative measures, e.g. for outdoor workers, the need to cover up in the sun and use sun protective creams and a campaign for earlier recognition of skin cancers, which are usually curable if treated in their early stages.

PMID:
15486177
DOI:
10.1093/occmed/kqh098
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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