Worker health and wellness Construction Workplace exposures Cancer Construction

CPWR offers skin cancer prevention tips for outdoor workers

female construction worker
Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation

Silver Spring, MD — Workers who spend all or part of their days outdoors have an increased risk of developing skin cancer, the Center for Construction Research and Training (also known as CPWR) cautions in a recently released hazard alert.

The alert, published June 18, states that more than 90,000 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year and 9,000 will die because of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. CPWR recommends applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and staying in the shade, when possible, when working outside.

“Skin cancer that is detected early is easier to treat and more likely to be cured,” states the alert, which advises workers to be aware of these warning signs:

  • A new or existing mole that has an irregular border (ragged, notched or blurred edges)
  • A new or existing mole that is asymmetrical (one half doesn’t match the other) or whose color is not the same throughout
  • Moles that are bigger than a pencil eraser
  • Itchy or painful moles
  • A bump, patch, sore or growth that bleeds, oozes or crusts and doesn’t heal

If you notice any of these symptoms, CPWR advises seeing a dermatologist immediately. The organization also notes that anyone can get skin cancer regardless of skin tone. Additionally, more women develop melanoma than men before age 50, but the odds increase for men after age 65. Melanoma is one of the most common forms of cancer in people younger than 30, and the chances of melanoma double for those who have had five or more sunburns.

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