Prof Thomas Diepgen
Professor & Chairman, Department of Clinical Social Medicine, Occupational & Environmental Dermatology
University Hospital Heidelberg
Prof Thomas Diepgen will be a Keynote presenter at the 7th Occupational and Environmental Exposure of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) Conference. He will be speaking on ‘UV Exposure’.
Dr. Thomas Diepgen is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Clinical Social Medicine, Occupational & Environmental Dermatology, University Hospital Heidelberg at Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg. Research focus in occupational dermatology and prevention, skin cancer, dermato epidemiology, contact allergy. He is vice president and past president of the German Society of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology; treasurer and past president of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis; past chairman of the European Dermato-Epidemiology Network; board member of the European Environmental and Contact Dermatitis Research Group; board member of the International Contact Dermatitis Research group (ICDRG), member of the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatits; co-editor of the Cochrane Skin Group; editor in chief of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology; and member of the Editorial Board of several national and international scientific journals. Dr. Diepgen has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in the field of dermatology, allergy and epidemiology.
UV radiation (UVR) is the most important cause of skin ageing and skin can-cer. It causes chronic cutaneous photodamage. The carcinogenic effects of UV radiation on the skin and eyes are well documented both experimentally and epidemiologically. UV radiation acts as a carcinogen both directly, by inducing cell damage (DNA mutations), and indirectly, by inducing immunosuppression (suppression of T lymphocytes).
Nowadays skin cancer (melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer) is the most common type of cancer in the white populations and its incidence has reached epidemic proportions. The term “nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC)” includes especially basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which, by far, are the most frequent skin cancers. UV radiation is the most important risk factor for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Although employees at several workplaces are exposed to increased levels of UV radiation, skin cancer due to long-term intense occupational exposure to UV radiation is often not considered as an occupational disease. The actually available evidence of the epidemiologic literature clearly indicates that occupational UV radiation is a substantial and robust risk factor for the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and also clearly shows a significant risk to develop basal cell carcinoma (BCC). There is enough scientific evidence that outdoor workers have an increased risk to develop work related occupational skin cancer due to natural UV radiation and adequate prevention strategies have to be implemented.
With the revision of the German Ordinance on Occupational Diseases, skin cancer due to UV-irradiation was amended as a new occupational disease to the list of occupational diseases in Germany in January 2015. The new occupational disease BK 5103 has the following wording: “Squamous cell carcinoma or multiple actinic keratosis of the skin caused by natural UV-irradiation”. Aktinic keratosis are to be considered as multiple according to this new occupational diseases if they occur as single lesions of more than five annually, or are confluent in an area > 4 cm2 (field cancerization). It is estimated that more than 2.5 Million employees are exposed to natural UV-irradiation due to their work (outdoor workers) in Germany and therefore have an increased risk of skin cancer.
Diepgen TL, Brandenburg S, Aberer W et al.: Skin cancer induced by natural UV radiation as an occupational disease – Requirements for its notification and recognition. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges 2014;12:1102-6.
Diepgen TL, Fartasch M, Drexler H, Schmitt J: Occupational skin cancer induced by ultraviolet radiation and its prevention. Br J Dermatol 2012;167 (Suppl. 2):76-84
Schmitt J, Seidler A, Diepgen TL, Bauer A. Occupational UV-light exposure increases the risk for the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Dermatol 2011;164:291-307
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