There is a need for more knowledge concerning the association of higher socioeconomic status (SES) with cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). Having a home garden is associated with a higher SES. We aimed to study the influence of having a home garden on UVR exposure behavior and risk of CMM. Register study: We collected information from Danish national registers about gender, age, type of home and CMM among persons aged 16–75 in 2002–2006. A total of 5,118 CMM cases were identified. Risk of CMM of the trunk was increased by 46% (p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval (CI): 31–63) and risk of CMM of the extremities by 34% (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 20–49) among people with home gardens. Dosimeter study: During a summer season 194 participants living in the Capital area, Denmark, equally distributed in homes with and without a garden, wore personal electronic UVR dosimeters measuring time-stamped UVR doses continuously and filled in sun exposure diaries. While no difference was found in estimated yearly UVR dose between groups, participants with a home garden had more days exposing shoulders or upper body, and upper extremities outdoors than those without a garden (p = 0.026, age adjusted). People with a home garden are at increased risk of CMM of the trunk and extremities—body sites that seems to be exposed to a higher extent among people with home gardens. People with a higher SES are more likely to have a home garden. This may partly explain the well-known association of higher SES with CMM incidence.What's new?
The positive association of socioeconomic status (SES) with cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is intriguing but poorly understood. Here, using home gardens as an indicator of high SES, dosimetry data and sun exposure diaries revealed that Danish people who have home gardens expose themselves to the sun more frequently. Additionally, data from Danish registers showed that those with a home garden are at increased risk of CMM of the trunk and extremities. The findings suggest that SES influences recreational sun behavior and skin cancer risk, in part by providing easier access to sunny areas.