The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and Irish Cancer Society have joined forces as part of UK and Ireland Farm Safety Week to remind farmers and farm families of the importance of protecting their skin to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in Ireland with over 11,000 cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year, however the disease can be prevented in nine out of ten cases.
IFA President Joe Healy said: “To reduce your risk of skin damage, organise your day so that you are in the shade when UV rays are strongest from 11am to 3pm. It is advisable to check your skin once a month for any changes and if you notice anything unusual, go to your doctor and get it checked out.”
Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Farmers who spend most of their time working outdoors are at risk of skin cancer. Whether it is sunny or cloudy, it’s important to protect your skin from April to September as you cannot see or feel the UV rays which cause damage to the skin. Up to 90 per cent of UV rays can get through light cloud and it doesn’t have to be a warm and sunny day for dangerous UV rays to be present. Even on cool days UV levels can be high enough to damage skin.
The ‘Be Smart – Protect Your Skin on the Farm’ which is available online contains important advice and information for safe working practice to protect your skin; follow the SunSmart Code to reduce the risk:
- SEEK SHADE: UV rays are at their strongest generally between 11am and 3pm, so plan you day and seek shade during these hours.
- COVER UP: by wearing a shirt with a collar and long shorts. Also wear a hat that gives shade to your face, neck and ears.
- WEAR WRAPAROUND SUNGLASSES: make sure they give UV protection.
- USE SUNSCREEN: Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and UVA protection 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours – more often if swimming or perspiring.
- CHECK the UV index – cancer.ie/uvindex
For more information on skin cancer or how to be SunSmart, visit www.cancer.ie/Sunsmart or call the Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700.