Sun Safety for Farmers
Day in and day out, farmers are in the hot summer sun, tending to their crops and livestock. While a little vitamin D is good for you, long hours exposed to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of skin cancer for farmers.
Recently, the Journal of Agromedicine published skin cancer research results that could help farmers better protect themselves when outside.
In the study, a total of 476 people participated, including 194 farmers. They were asked about sun protection use, sun exposure, and skin cancer and protection beliefs and knowledge.
Key findings included the following items: only 23 percent of farmers who used sunscreen “always” or “frequently” used it when in the sun for 15 minutes or more; 34 percent of farmers were referred to a dermatologist for additional screenings for a concerning lesion during the study; and for farmers, the most common aversions to sun protection included discomfort in long pants and shirts, forgetting to reapply sunscreen, and discomfort with wide-brimmed hats.
Participating doctors say their main goal was to find factors that separated the farming and non-farming population when it came to sun protection.
From the research findings, farmers can apply several takeaways to their daily routine to help prevent skin cancer. For example, if possible, it’s best to limit your outside work to before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. If working in the field mid-day, use machinery with cabs or shade. Be sure to wear protective clothing including hats, sunglasses, and long shirts and pants. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen. It’s best to apply about 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours.
For more tips on how to prevent skin cancer, visit marshfieldclinic.org.