A clinic-based case-control study was set up in 1961 to examine a variety of aetiological factors in malignant melanoma cases compared with controls with other non-malignant skin conditions. The 268 cases and 1577 controls showed odds ratios of 1.9 for red hair, 2.0 for skin that burns in the sun, and no difference between indoor and outdoor workers or between Celts and other Europeans, consistent with the results of more recent studies. Exposure to 16 specific chemicals was recorded in the study and, among these, men exposed to cutting oils were found to have a significantly raised odds ratio of 1.91. Other statistically significant findings were an elevated risk among women diabetics, particularly in the postmenopausal age group, and a reduced risk of 0.7 among cigarette smokers.
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