Construction workers and farmers are most at risk of work-related skin cancer, a new study claims.
Those who work for long periods outdoors in Britain account for 2% of all skin cancers, according to the Imperial College London study, published in the British Journal Of Cancer.
Dozens of deaths a year
Too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays while at work leads to one death from malignant melanoma every week. This over-exposure also causes five new cases of the deadly cancer every week.
This totals 48 deaths and 241 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year in Britain, due to over-exposure to the sun while working.
Construction workers are the most at risk, followed by farmers, the police, armed forces and other public administration workers.
Dr Lesley Rushton, lead researcher, says people often underestimate the risks of damage caused by sun in the UK, because they don’t consider themselves to be living in a ‘hot’ country.
Spotting the symptoms
Dr Rushton says that spotting the symptoms is key to helping prevent or manage the disease.
Workers should know what their skin is normally like and see a doctor if there are any changes, including a new mole or mark, or a change to something you’ve had for a while.
Employers are now being asked to take sun exposure during working hours more seriously and consider ways they can help reduce it.
Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, says that while the sun can help create healthy bones, too much can increase the risk of skin cancer.
The best ways for people to protect their skin is to spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm, and cover up with clothing, she says.
Also, applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and four or more stars, on the parts of the body that can’t be covered – like face and hands – is vital.
Source: Imperial College London
Date Published: January 30, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown