This Job Has a Huge Risk Attached

This Job Has a Huge Risk Attached

Melanoma Month may be drawing to a close, but we hope you’ll retain all the great information, tips and suggestions we have been giving you in order to best protect yourself! To round out this month, we wanted to bring attention to a certain industry that lends itself to a significantly higher melanoma risk than others - firefighters.

The risks of the job in general come as no surprise, but it’s likely that melanoma isn’t the first one on your mind. In a new study, it was found that firefighters are at increased risk for several types of cancer, including melanoma. In particular, it seems that there is a significantly higher prevalence of melanoma among firefighters in Florida compared with the general Florida population, and their melanomas developed at an earlier age.

We can guess as to the risks that firefighters face everyday, but what is it exactly can be tied directly to skin cancer? It turns out that that it is likely due to the combustion of chemicals used in home building materials and furniture. With these kinds of materials continuing to evolve, we don’t know much about how carcinogenic they are - but we can guess that it isn’t good.

While firefighters are able to protect their lungs well with their self-contained breathing equipment, unfortunately that isn’t the case with their skin. Their gear is only required to protect them against liquid barriers (which has only been tested on a few chemicals), meaning that they don’t know how protected they are against chemicals that vaporize - which is exactly what most firefighters are likely to encounter.

As a result, it’s highly likely that their skin may be absorbing toxic chemicals. It’s our hope that studies like this will encourage those who manufacture their protective gear to improve on what currently exists! We appreciate everything that firefighters do for our community, and we hope that by bringing these vulnerabilities to light, society will be able to afford them the appropriate protection.

Do you have questions about melanoma or risks of your job? Leave us a comment below, or book an appointment to chat with one of our talented Nashville dermatologists!

P.S. We’re giving you 20% off all our sunscreens this month to help you protect your skin during Melanoma Month! Shop our sunscreens here or in-person at a Skin Solutions Dermatology practice near you.

Source: JAMA Dermatology

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD