Veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan may have increased risk of skin cancer

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A recent study has determined that soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan face an increased risk of skin cancer. U.S. military deployments in the last decade have occurred largely at a more equatorial latitude, leading to greater sun exposure and cancer risk.

Vanderbilt dermatologist Jennifer Powers, M.D., and colleagues reviewed survey data obtained from 212 Middle East veterans regarding their sun exposure and use of sun protection. Apporximately 80% of those polled were recalling exposure history that occurred lover a year prior.

Respondents rated their use of sunscreen as either routine (13%) or characterized it as "sporadic" or "sometimes" (87%). Seventy-seven percent reported working 4+ hours a day in bright sun conditions and 63% reported at least one sunburn during deployment.

Only 23 percent of veterans polled reported that the military strongly cautioned them on the risks of skin cancer.

The researchers also reviewed the accessibility of sun protection gear for soldiers in the field, and study results indicate some correlation between available sun protection gear and frequency of use.

Study results were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Google searches about skin cancer increase during summer months
A recent study has determined that soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan face an increased risk of skin cancer.
Soldiers who served in the glaring desert sunlight of Iraq and Afghanistan returned home with an increased risk of skin cancer, due not only to the desert climate, but also a lack of sun protection, Vanderbilt dermatologist Jennifer Powers, M.D., reports in a study published recently in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
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