We directly compared risk factors between 214 histologically confirmed melanomas (CMM), 215 basal-cell carcinomas (BCC) and 139 squamous-cell carcinomas (SCC) in a multiple case–case–control study with 349 controls from patients without dermatological disease admitted to the same hospitals. Subjects with fair hair had a significant risk increase for all types of tumours at a comparable level (ORadj for blonde hair: CMM 2.3; SCC 2.4; BCC 2.3). The effect of pale eyes was significant and similar for CMM and BCC (ORadj 2.6). Intermittent sun exposure measured in hours spent at beach during holidays was significant for both CMM (ORadj 2.6 for more than 7000 lifelong hours) and BCC (ORadj 2.1 for more than 7000 lifelong hours), while SCC exhibited a significant risk increase for chronic exposure to sunlight measured in hours of outdoor work (ORadj 2.2 for more than 6000 lifelong hours). In the case–case comparison using a multinomial logistic regression model, we found a statistically significant risk difference for pale eyes, and number of naevi in the CMM group, compared to other skin cancers. For intermittent sun exposure, there was a significant risk difference of BCC when compared to the risk of SCC. Factors influencing risk of SCC are different, with chronic exposure to sun playing a major role in causing this type of carcinoma.
Keywords: skin cancer, melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma, case–case–control, sun exposure