Solar ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer

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BackgroundIncidence rates of skin cancer, both non-melanoma skin cancer and (malignant/cutaneous) melanoma, are rising in Great Britain. It is widely accepted that solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the main causal factor for these neoplasms. Many people are occupationally exposed to solar UVR, including farmers, construction workers and some public service workers.AimThe aim of this article is to review the key epidemiologic papers on occupational solar exposure and skin cancer and discuss the relationships found.MethodA literature search was conducted using online databases and article bibliographies. A full review of all available studies was not carried out, as only key studies on occupational exposure were required.ResultsThere is a clear association between solar radiation and skin cancer. The mechanisms for induction vary between the types of skin cancer and these cannot be solely attributed to occupational exposures.ConclusionsThere is great difficulty in separating the effects of occupational and recreational solar UVR exposure; therefore, any results discussed in this review should be interpreted with caution. However, it is clear that solar UVR exposure does induce skin cancer and protective measures should be taken in an attempt to reduce the burden of occupational skin cancer in Great Britain.

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