• High variability in anatomic patterns of cutaneous photodamage: a population-based study

      Betz-Stablein, B.; Llewellyn, S.; Bearzi, P.; Grochulska, K.; Rutjes, C.; Aitken, J. F.; Janda, M.; O'Rouke, P.; Soyer, H. P; Green, Adèle C; et al. (2021)
      Background: Skin cancer is strongly associated with photodamaged skin, but body sites are often referred to as 'exposed' or 'unexposed' to sun without recognizing extent of site-specific variation. Objectives: To assess whole-body patterns of photodamage in an Australian population. Methods: A random sample of adult residents of Queensland underwent imaging across 10 body sites. Photodamage was graded from images using an ordinal photonumeric scale. We used cluster analysis to identify whole-body photodamage patterns and prevalence proportion ratios (PPRs) to assess associated factors. Results: Of 190 adults (median age 52; 58% males), 58% showed severe or moderate-to-severe photodamage on most body sites. A higher proportion of woman had severe photodamage on the arms (upper: P = 0.002, lower: P = 0.034). A higher proportion of men had moderate or severe photodamage on the lower back (P = 0.004). We identified four photodamage patterns: 'severe general' (n = 24, 13%), 'moderate-severe general' (n = 86, 45%), 'moderate-severe v-neck' (n = 40, 21%) and 'mild-moderate upper body' (n = 12, 6%). All participants with 'severe-general' photodamage were >50 years and more likely to have past skin cancer (PPR: 2.54, 95% CI: 1.44-4.49) than those with 'moderate-severe v-neck' photodamage. Those with 'moderate-severe general' photodamage showed similar associations and were more likely female (PPR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.04-1.69). Past or current smoking was associated with having higher levels of photodamage, with no smokers in those with 'mild-moderate upper body' photodamage. Conclusions: Moderate-to-severe photodamage across much of the body is common in Queensland adults and associated with age, sex, past skin cancer and smoking. Assuming a universal pattern of site-specific sun exposure could lead to spurious correlations, while accurate and objective assessment of site-specific photodamage can add to understanding of the development of sun-associated skin cancers, in particular site-specific skin carcinogenesis. Additionally, degree of site-specific photodamage has the potential to assist skin cancer screening.