Skin cancer as an occupational disease04 November 2021 Newsletter
Piloting of new services for skin cancer screening
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the Netherlands. Of all new cancer patients in the Netherlands, more than 50% present with skin cancer, even though skin cancer is in most cases preventable. Allowing the skin to be sunburned doubles the chance of getting skin cancer. Integral Cancer Centre Netherlands (IKNL) released a report in 2019 recording a shocking number of 70,000 new patients with skin cancer per year. Of these, over 6,000 had melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. The number of skin cancer diagnoses is moreover rising every year and although it is sometimes thought that treating skin cancer is a simple case of removing a small patch of skin, the consequences of a diagnosis are in fact often much more serious. About one third of new patients develop skin cancer again within five years. If cancerous skin has to be removed regularly, then the disease has become chronic, and many patients in this situation require ongoing care.
Skin cancer is an occupational disease
In order to halt the rapid advance of skin cancer, the Dutch Dermatological Association recently presented its National Skin Cancer Action Plan which calls for skin cancer to be recognized as an occupational disease (as is the case in Germany). The plan also proposes focusing on skin cancer prevention in four high-risk groups, including outdoor workers. This can be done by periodically checking the skin of people in these high-risk groups in order to detect skin cancer at an early stage. In addition, the plan calls for raising awareness about skin cancer amongst companies and employees so that effective measures can be taken to prevent skin being damaged in the first place.
So which are the groups most at risk?
Skin cancer is caused by excessive and unconscious exposure to UV radiation. Even on a cloudy day there is a risk of exposure to UV radiation: clouds do not stop the radiation completely. High-risk groups include people with fair skin types or who use medication that inhibits the immune system. But the risk of skin cancer is also significantly increased by exposure to higher levels of UV radiation during work. This applies to a diverse group of outdoor workers such as those in the maritime sector (with extra reflection from the water surface), construction and agriculture. UV radiation is also a factor in certain welding processes, such as tig welding or plasma welding, which therefore also present an increased risk of skin cancer. In addition research has shown that travellers who fly frequently have a higher risk of skin cancer.
Prevention: a tailor-made corporate-care programme
Insight and prevention are essential when there is any concern for the health of the skin of employees with outdoor jobs. This is clearly true for the employee concerned, but it is also true for their employer: preventive attention in relation to skin cancer maximizes employability and prevents absenteeism.
The Corporate Travel Clinic Erasmus MC B.V. (CTC) has entered into cooperation with SkinTwin. Together we are developing a tailor-made programme for companies which want to invest in the health of their employees. We are currently running a pilot project and employees who wish to participate can schedule an appointment for a skin assessment. This can be done by going to www.skintwin.nl. It is also possible to have the assessment carried out during visits to CTC for a medical checkup, a vaccination, or PCR diagnosis.
The assessment will take approximately 20 minutes.
For the duration of the pilot project, until 31 December 2021, all assessments are free of charge.
Maasboulevard 1483011 TX Rotterdam
For further information or answers to any questions you may have, or if would you like us to give a presentation about this issue at your premises please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to contact you.
Kind regards, also on behalf of SkinTwin,
Perry van Genderen & Angelique Borst, Board of Directors CTC