Posted on May 05, 2018, 2 a.m.
Skin cancer cases which are attributable to work related sun exposure could very well be costing millions of dollars, and should be addressed more appropriately by policy makers, as published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.
Total and per case costs of newly diagnosed non-melanoma skin cancer have been estimated for Canada related to workplace sun exposure by using a variety of secondary sources which includes health surveys and official government records. It is estimated that the true economic burden of non-melanoma skin cancers cost over $34.6 million.
Costs were made up of an assortment of lifetime costs which included impacts of missed work time, out of pocket expenses, poor quality of life, and healthcare treatment. Further analyses revealed sizeable cost per patient for basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinoma, which are the 2 most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer. Estimated figures were $5,760 for each basal-cell case and $10,555 for each squamous-cell carcinoma case.
Skin cancers are increasing in incidence, and are among the most common form of cancer within Canada as well as other countries with large populations of fair skinned citizens. One in ten workers are exposed to solar UV radiation while at work, vast majority of these workers are spending six hours or more outdoors every day. This is the first known study to comprehensively estimate economic burden of workplace NMSCs caused by sun exposure in Canada, and it is hoped the approach will be adapted to carry out similar in other countries.
One of the main causes of skin cancer is solar ultraviolet radiation, researchers are hopeful that these landmark findings will help persuade policymakers to pay greater attention to reducing workplace sun exposure with stronger prevention intervention guidelines. Occupations which were deemed to be most at risk include farming, landscaping, and construction, all of which are occupations not exclusive to Canada.
Results should raise awareness among employers, workers, unions, and policymakers alike. The groups can coordinate to make stronger cost-benefit arguments about significant contribution of workplace sun exposure and inexpensive exposure reduction interventions such as hats, sunscreen, loose clothing, shade structures, and shift rescheduling to reduce time spent in the sun, especially at peak times.
Materials provided by Taylor & Francis Group.
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Amirabbas Mofidi, Emile Tompa, James Spencer, Christina Kalcevich, Cheryl E. Peters, Joanne Kim, Chaojie Song, Seyed Bagher Mortazavi, Paul A. Demers. The economic burden of occupational non-melanoma skin cancer due to solar radiation. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 2018; 1 DOI: 10.1080/15459624.2018.1447118