Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), also known as keratinocyte cancer, affects 5 million US adults above 65. Exposure to mercury is a daily event in dentist offices, the nuclear arms industry, and chemical industries. Those who work here risk contracting brain and lung cancers. But the risk of skin cancer in this scenario is not evident. This study aims to associate mercury levels with NMSC cases. The objective is to relate mercury or Hg levels in the blood to skin cancer.
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2003 to 2016 is the study data. Exposures studied include blood total or tHg, inorganic or iHg, and methylmercury or MeHg. The researchers used socio-demographic factors of participants above 20. The survey years got adjusted, and they conducted a logistic regression analysis. The odd ratios with 95% confidence interval supported evaluating the risk of NMSC and quartiles of blood Hg.
A total of 29413 participants got surveyed, including 52% of females. Their mean age was 49 years, and the comparisons revealed interesting details. Those with tHg > 1.74 had double odds of NMSC compared to those with tHg <= 0.47. Those with the highest quartile of MeHg > 1.44 had 1.7 greater odds of NMSC than those with MeHg <= 0.21. However, iHg levels had a non-significant link with NMSC.
The study proves that those with higher blood tHg and MeHg levels are more susceptible to skin cancers.