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Occupation and malignant melanoma: a study based on cancer registration data in England and Wales and in Sweden.
  1. D Vågerö,
  2. A J Swerdlow,
  3. V Beral
  1. Department of Epidemiology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


    An analysis of the incidence of malignant melanoma according to occupation is presented using data from two national cancer registries. The data relate to 3991 cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma, 662 cases of ocular melanoma, and 179 cases of noncutaneous, non-ocular melanoma in subjects aged 15-64 in England and Wales diagnosed from 1971 to 1978 and to 5003 cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma diagnosed from 1961 to 1979 in Sweden in subjects born between 1896 and 1940. Professional workers of both sexes in both countries experienced an excess incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma. An excess of ocular melanoma and of non-cutaneous, non-ocular melanoma also existed for this group in England and Wales. Pharmacists, medical doctors, and dentists had a high incidence of cutaneous melanoma in both countries and were represented three times when listing the top 20 occupations in both countries and both genders. Combining the data from cutaneous malignant melanoma over both sexes and both registries the occupations with the highest incidence ratios (expressed as a percentage) were: airline pilots, incidence ratio (IR) = 273, (95% confidence limits 118-538); finance and insurance brokers IR = 245 (140-398); professional accountants IR = 208 (134-307); dentists IR = 207 (133-309); inspectors and supervisors in transport IR = 206 (133-304); pharmacists IR = 198 (115-318); professionals not elsewhere classified IR = 196 (155-243); judges IR = 196 (126-289); doctors IR = 188 (140-248); university teachers IR = 188 (110-302); and chemists IR = 188 (111-296). No particular exposure in the workplace seemed to link these groups and only a few worked in high technology environments. Many of the highest risk groups have in common a high level of education. In England and Wales and in Sweden this might correlate particularly with foreign travel abroad was more unusual than it is now, but evidence on present and past exposure to sun by occupation is needed to clarify the reasons for the association.

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