Occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation as a risk factor of melanoma development

iStock_000017040940_LargeSo far, people working on the land, skiing instructors, and sportsmen were considered to be at higher risk of melanoma development because of occupational exposure to UV radiation. In their latest research, scientists from University of California in San Francisco proved that also pilots and flying personnel are at risk of melanoma development and they suffer from it twice more often than average population. Research was published in Jama Dermatology magazine.

High risk factors of melanoma development include: some phenotypic characters (blue or green eyes, fair hair and complexion, freckles, hypersensitivity to sunlight, and susceptibility to sunburns), high number of naevus pigmentosus, dysplastic naevus syndrome, melanoma in family, malignant skin cancers other than melanoma, and precancerous condition of the skin.

The most important risk factor of melanoma development is exposition to ultraviolet radiation, especially of 280-320nm wavelength (UVB) not only natural, but also artificial. Chronic exposition to radiation is as dangerous as short but intensive one.

Scientists from University of California in San Francisco performed meta-analysis of 19 cohort studies. They took into consideration over 266 thousand of participants. Results of the analysis indicate 2.22 times higher risk of melanoma among pilots and 2.09 times higher among flying personnel in comparison with average morbidity in the world. The risk of melanoma occurrence is higher in men than in women. Respectively: men: 2.38, women 1.93. Risk of death due to melanoma among pilots and flying personnel is higher by 42% than in the society.

Scientists stress that harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation depends mainly on meters above sea level. The higher the altitude, the lower protection of the atmosphere, higher concentration of UV radiation and higher the risk of melanoma. What is more, scientists claim that clouds and snow – covered mountain peaks reflect even up to 85% of UV radiation what additionally increases risk in flying personnel.

Results of conducted meta-analysis indicate that it is necessary to implement appropriate prevention methods of melanoma in pilots and flying personnel.

Written by: Anna Szajerska, Karolina Gasińska

1.) Martina Sanlorenzo, Mackenzie R. Wehner, Eleni Linos, et.al.; The Risk of Melanoma in Airline Pilots and Cabin Crew, Meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol. Published online September 03, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1077
2.) Słoma-Kuczyńska J., Bilski B.,; Primary prevention in workers exposed to ultraviolet radiation and radiation-related risks; Medycyna Pracy. 2004; 55 (3); s. 283-287.
3.) Michalska-Jakubus M., Jakubus T., Krasowska D., Malignant melanoma – epidemiology, etiopathogenesis and prognosis. Medycyna Rodzinna. 2006; 2; s. 45-53.
4.) Kycler W., Teresiak M., Skin melanoma: present possibilities of treatment in Poland based on own experiences of melanoma patients’ course and current review of literature; Współcz. Onkol. 2006; 10; 9 s. 437-448.
5.) http://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/59979/Piloten-und-Flugpersonal-haben-doppeltes-Hautkrebsrisiko

Would You like to know more? Watch on MEDtube.net: Melanoma in situ

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