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Keywords:

  • cutaneous malignant melanoma;
  • UVR exposure;
  • type of home;
  • socioeconomic status

Abstract

There is a need for more knowledge concerning the association of higher socioeconomic status (SES) with cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). Having a home garden is associated with a higher SES. We aimed to study the influence of having a home garden on UVR exposure behavior and risk of CMM. Register study: We collected information from Danish national registers about gender, age, type of home and CMM among persons aged 16–75 in 2002–2006. A total of 5,118 CMM cases were identified. Risk of CMM of the trunk was increased by 46% (p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval (CI): 31–63) and risk of CMM of the extremities by 34% (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 20–49) among people with home gardens. Dosimeter study: During a summer season 194 participants living in the Capital area, Denmark, equally distributed in homes with and without a garden, wore personal electronic UVR dosimeters measuring time-stamped UVR doses continuously and filled in sun exposure diaries. While no difference was found in estimated yearly UVR dose between groups, participants with a home garden had more days exposing shoulders or upper body, and upper extremities outdoors than those without a garden (p = 0.026, age adjusted). People with a home garden are at increased risk of CMM of the trunk and extremities—body sites that seems to be exposed to a higher extent among people with home gardens. People with a higher SES are more likely to have a home garden. This may partly explain the well-known association of higher SES with CMM incidence.