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Warning: New Skin Cancer Study Finds Outdoor Workers are Less Likely to Get Screened for Skin Cancer
Date:5/5/2008

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In addition, the data clearly showed that the rate of reporting skin cancer screening was lowest for high-risk occupations most likely to experience increased sun exposure. Specifically, in the 2000 and 2005 Cancer Control Modules, the prevalence of 12-month skin examinations among those who had seen a physician in the past year was lowest among farm workers (5.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively) and blue-collar workers (3.9 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively).

"When we analyzed the data by industry sectors, we concluded that agriculture, forestry, fishing, and construction workers reported the lowest rate of skin exams in 2000," said Dr. Kirsner. "Although the number of agriculture, forestry and fishing workers reporting a skin exam increased from 2000 to 2005 -- from 4.2 percent to 13.6 percent -- the prevalence of skin exams among construction workers stayed essentially the same, from 5.2 percent to 5.6 percent."

Dr. Kirsner added that occupational groups at increased risk for exposure to UV light on the job were less likely to have ever received a skin examination in their lifetime than the average U.S. worker (15 percent). This included farm operators and managers (10 percent), farm workers and other agricultural workers (7 percent), forestry and fishing occupations (3 percent), construction and mining trades (8 percent), and construction laborers (8 percent).

"Socioeconomic factors also were significant predictors of having a skin exam in the past year," said Dr. Kirsner. "Specifically, younger black or Hispanic women with no health insurance, who were service, farm or blue-collar workers, and who did not use sun protection were the least likely to report ever having been screened for skin cancer. All patients, especially those that have occupations where they are exposed to UV light, should request that their physician provide skin exams during their routine exams."

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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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