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Outdoor Workers At Risk For Sun-Related Health Issues

November 13, 2012

Those individuals who work outdoors with resultant sun exposure are at increased risk for non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Manigé Fartasch shows that the connection between occupational UV exposure and squamous cell carcinoma is now well-established in her review article in issue 43 of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(43): 715–20).

The results are less clear for basal cell carcinoma, another form of non-melanoma skin cancer. Skin cancers caused by UV light have not yet been considered work-related diseases in accordance with the Ordinance on Occupational Diseases (BKV, Berufkrankheitsverordnung). Including these cancers in the accepted list of occupational diseases is currently being discussed. For now, the authors recommend that if a squamous cell carcinoma is suspected of being caused by occupational UV exposure, it should be reported as a quasi-occupational disease under §9, paragraph 2 Social Security Statues (SGB, Sozialgesetzbuch) VII. The authors also call for preventive measures for workers with increased occupational UV exposure.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in Western lands with an incidence of around 10 per 100 000 inhabitants in Europe. Pale individuals with a sun-sensitive skin type are especially likely to be affected.

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