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March 2004

Smoking Overlooked as an Important Risk Factor for Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(3):362-363. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.3.362

The recent article by Hemminki et al1 reported interesting results on trends of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skinin Sweden, namely, that there has been a significant increase in SCC for covered skin starting in the 1980s in addition to the increases in SCC in sun-exposedskin dating back to the 1960s. The interpretation provided was that the increase in SCC for covered skin was likely due to intentional tanning, both duringtrips abroad and in sun beds. No data on gender differences in trips abroad were presented, but it was pointed out that females use sun beds at twicethe rate of males in Sweden. However, males have twice the rate as females for SCC for covered skin. Thus, it is very unlikely that intentional tanningexplains the data unless Swedish men are several times more likely to travel abroad than women.

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