Occupation and the risk of malignant melanoma

Ira A. Pion, Darrell S. Rigel, Lawrence Garfinkel, Mark K. Silverman, Alfred W. Kopf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Background. The incidence of malignant melanoma is increasing rapidly. The risk for development of malignant melanoma has been reported to be higher in persons of higher socioeconomic status. Methods. This case‐control study explores the relation between occupation and malignant melanoma relative risk through analysis of data collected by the American Cancer Society. A total of 1.2 million people were enrolled in a study of lifestyles and environmental factors in relation to mortality from cancer and other diseases. A total of 2780 persons had a history of malignant melanoma when the study began or developed malignant melanoma during the 6‐year study follow‐up period. The controls were matched for age, sex, race, and geographic location on an approximately 1:3 basis to persons selected from the remaining people enrolled. Results. In men, malignant melanoma risk was significantly higher in high‐paying versus low‐paying occupations (odds ratio [OR], = 1.58; P < 0.001) and in white‐collar versus blue‐collar occupations (OR = 1.33; P < 0.001). No significant conclusions could be drawn for women. No significant difference in risk was noted between those with indoor versus outdoor occupations. Among specific occupational exposures, only exposure to X‐rays significantly raised malignant melanoma risk (OR = 1.37; P = 0.002). Conclusion. Upper pay scale and white‐collar occupations significantly increase the risk for development of malignant melanoma. Cancer 1995;75:637‐44.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-644
Number of pages8
Issue number2 S
StatePublished - 15 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer risk
  • environmental exposures
  • epidemiology
  • melanoma
  • occupation
  • socioeconomic status


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