Outdoor Workers Three Times More Likely to Develop Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer After Five Years of Outdoor Work

BALLERUP, Denmark, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

In light of new research, which shows that after five years outdoor workers are three times more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and actinic keratosis (AK) than non-outdoor workers,[1] a leading group of skin experts is calling for official recognition of these diseases as occupational diseases. A consensus report, authored by the group, has just been published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.[2]

The consensus report, supported by an unrestricted educational grant by LEO Pharma, highlights evidence that a wide variety of people who work outdoors, such as farmers, construction workers, and even police officers, are at an increased risk of developing NMSC and AK[2]. The report calls for action to protect outdoor workers from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun via both primary and secondary prevention measures, including education and screening.[2]

Exposure to UV is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialised cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), as a group one carcinogen - meaning it is the highest risk factor for developing skin cancer, both melanoma and non-melanoma types.[3],[4] This is a clear recognition for the WHO of the causality of UV exposure leading to an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Outdoor workers are exposed to 2-3 times more UV exposure than the average person,[3] yet there is currently no international recognition that sunlight is an occupational hazard for outdoor workers.

Kim Domela Kjøller, Executive Vice President for Global Research and Development at LEO Pharma says: "This report gives us new insights into the importance of preventing NMSC and AK for outdoor workers. We believe this is an important step to prevent, treat and manage the early precursors of skin cancer, which is critical to help us halt the disease in its tracks."

Myrto Trakatelli, dermatologist at Aristotle University, Greece and St. Pierre Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, and one of the authors of the consensus report comments: "Rates of NMSC are currently increasing[3] which combined with the ageing population could cause a major issue across the EU. It's high time that UV sunlight is treated like any other work-place carcinogen. Employers need to take steps to protect their staff from overexposure to sunlight and offer regular skin checks through work-based initiatives."

The report calls for the need for consistent, better reporting of NMSC and AK as occupational diseases. Other recommendations include:

- Education for outdoor workers on protecting their skin
- Screening programmes for high-risk workers
- Standardised measures of sun exposure during working hours
- Improved registration of AK and NMSC in national cancer registries

The report can be accessed online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jdv.2016.30.issue-S3/issuetoc

About LEO Pharma 

LEO Pharma helps people achieve healthy skin. By offering care solutions to patients in more than 100 countries globally, LEO Pharma supports people in managing their skin conditions.

Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, the healthcare company has devoted decades of research and development to delivering products and solutions to people with skin conditions.

LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark and employs around 5,000 people worldwide.

For more information, visit http://www.leo-pharma.com


1) de Vries E, Trakatelli M, group at E. World Congress of Dermatology. Vancouver,
Canada, 2015.
2) John SM, et al. J Eur Dermatol Venereol. 2016 (Suppl. 3), 38-45
3) IARC. Solar and ultraviolet radiation (Vol 55). Monographs on the evaluation of
carcinogenic risks to humans. Lyon. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Press,
4) Cogliano VJ, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011;103; 1827-1839

LEO Pharma A/S

CONTACT: Contact: Marie Schleimann Nordlund, Global Communications &Public Relations Manager, LEO Pharma, Email: marie.nordlund@leo-pharma.com,Mobile: +45-3126-3734

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