What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. While most skin cancer is not to do with work, there are well-recognised causes for those that are linked with occupation. The most common causes of work-related skin cancers are:
- ultraviolet light (mainly from natural sunlight, not exclusively to do with work, but is significant for those who work outdoors);
- ultraviolet light from sunbeds (where there may be a risk for sunbed operators and their employees). Please refer to our guidance on sunbeds for further details.
- some chemicals (such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs] from coal tar, pitch and unrefined mineral oils);
- ionising radiation (eg from radioactive substances and X-rays).
Some substances can get in through the skin and cause cancers in other parts of the body.
What does it look like?
There is a range of signs linked with skin cancer eg a scaly patch of hard skin, a red lump or spot, an ulcer, a new mole, or a patch of skin which bleeds, oozes or has a crust.