Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada and Alberta and yet it is also the most preventable.1-4 Eighty-two percent of melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer) cases in Alberta can be attributed to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure.5
of all skin cancers are caused by UVR exposure
Alberta workers are exposed to UVR at work everyday
Alberta workers get skin cancer due to workplace exposure every year
UVR exposure is a serious occupational hazard, particularly for those who work extended hours outdoors.5 Approximately 12% of Alberta’s workers are exposed to solar UVR while at work.7 In 2006, occupational exposure to UVR resulted in 380 new cases of skin cancer.8 Almost 20% of Alberta workers spent 4 or more hours, between 11am-4pm, outside in the sun but 32% rarely or never sought shade.8
The associated costs of treating skin cancer are high and avoidable.4 In 2006, the total costs associated with occupational skin cancer in Alberta was 7.6 million dollars per year, over 3 million of which are attributed to workplace costs such as absenteeism and long-term disability.8 When workplaces encourage and assist their employees to avoid excess UVR exposure, they may lower absenteeism and avoid excess costs in workers’ compensation claims. 5
- Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Government of Canada. Canadian cancer statistics 2014. Special topic: skin cancers. Toronto (ON): CCS; 2014. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014--EN.pdf?la=en.
- Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). Melanoma: deadliest type of skin cancer is on the rise. Toronto (ON): CCS; 2014. Available from: http://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/for-media/media-releases/national/2014/2014-canadian-cancer-statistics/?region=on.
- Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (CSCF). About skin cancer. Edmonton (AB): CSCF; n.d. Available from http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/about-skin-cancer.html
- Alberta Health Services (AHS). Snapshot of skin cancer prevention facts and figures. Calgary (AB): AHS; 2009. Available from https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/poph/hi-poph-surv-phids-snapshot-skin-cancer.pdf
- Alberta Health Services. Healthier Together: Cancer number tool. Edmonton (AB): Alberta Health Services; n.d. Available from https://www.healthiertogether.ca/prevention-data/cancer-numbers-tool/
- Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (CSCF). Why outdoor workers. Edmonton (AB): CSCF; n.d. Available from http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/outdoor-workers.html.
- Peters CE, Nicole A, Demers PA. Prevalence of Exposure to Solar Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) on the Job in Canada. Can J Public Health. 2012;103(3):223-26
- Orenstein MR, Dall T, Curley P, Chen J, Tamburrini AL, Petersen J. The economi burden of occupational cancers in Alberta. Calgary (AB): Alberta Health Services; 2010.