By Rachael Rettner, Live Science
Firefighters may have a higher risk of skin cancer than the general public, a new study finds.
The study analyzed information from about 2,400 firefighters in South Florida. Participants answered questions about whether they had past skin-cancer diagnoses, as well as what kind of sun protection (including sunscreen) they used and whether they had been screened for skin cancer or had other skin cancer risk factors (such as sunburns).
Overall, 109 firefighters (4.5 percent) reported having a diagnosis of skin cancer at some point, including 17, or 0.7 percent, who were diagnosed with melanoma. That’s higher than the rate of melanoma among Florida adults in the general population, which is only 0.01 percent, the researchers said. (Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.)
What’s more, firefighters tended to be diagnosed with melanoma at younger ages than adults in the general population: The median age of melanoma diagnosis was 42 years old among firefighters, compared with 64 years old in the general U.S. population.
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