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An analysis of occupational incidence data for malignant melanomas and squamous-and basal-self carcinomas of the skin in England and Wales from 1970 to 1975 is reported. The occupational pattern for melanomas of the trunk and limbs differed markedly from the pattern for melanomas of the head, face and neck. Office work was associated with a large excess of melanomas of the trunk and limbs. In contrast, outdoor work was associated with an excess of melanomas of the head, face and neck; and was also associated with an excess of squamous-and basal-cell carcinomas of the skin. This suggests that prolonged occupational exposure to sunlight is an important cause of squamous-and basal-cell carcinomas and of melanomas of the head, face and neck, but not of melanomas on other parts of the body. The high rate of lesions on the trunk and limbs in office workers may reflect their sunbathing or other recreational habits; but it contrasts clearly with other indoor work, where there is a generally low rate of all forms of skin cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





886 - 891


Adolescent, Adult, Carcinoma, Basal Cell, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, England, Facial Neoplasms, Female, Head and Neck Neoplasms, Humans, Male, Melanoma, Middle Aged, Occupational Diseases, Skin Neoplasms, Social Class, Sunlight, Wales