May in Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland with over 13,000 cases diagnosed annually, and it is predicted that this number will more than double by the year 2045.  Thankfully, most cases of skin cancer can be prevented by protecting skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources.

The National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan identifies outdoor workers as a high-risk group for skin cancer. The HSE, National Cancer Control Programme and Healthy Ireland have launched SunSmart campaign running from April to September, increasing awareness of the steps you can take to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer in Ireland.

Outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable to developing skin cancer as they can be exposed to between 2 and 3 times more UV than indoor workers. Due to spending long periods of time outdoors, they are exposed to high levels of UV rays from the sun – even on a cloudy day.

CSO figures (2018) suggest that almost one in four (26.6%) of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are related to the construction, outdoor and farming industries. One death every week in Ireland is at least partly due to sun exposure at work.

The Healthy Ireland SunSmart Code:

  • Slip on clothing that covers your skin such as long sleeves or collared t-shirts;
  • Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen with an SPF with a minimum 30 or higher. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours – more often if perspiring.
  • Slap on a wide brimmed hat.
  • Seek Shade – especially if outdoors between 11am to 3pm when UV rays are at their strongest. If possible schedule outdoor work before 11am or after 3pm.
  • Slide on wraparound sunglasses.

For information and Advice, see the Irish Cancer Society website here

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