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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Skin cancer deaths in Ireland: One in four are construction workers or farmers

Workers in these industries are being urged to be aware of the risks of exposure to the sun.

File photo
File photo
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH CANCER Society has said that almost one in four (23%) deaths from skin cancer in Ireland are from those in the construction, outdoor and farming industries.

As it launches its annual SunSmart campaign, the society is urging people working in those industries, in particular, to remain vigilant of the risks around ongoing exposure to the sun, even in the climate we have here in Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, cancer prevention manager at the Irish Cancer Society Kevin O’Hagan said that construction workers and farmers don’t fully realise the risk of getting skin cancer and urged employers to make sure their employees understand the dangers.

“It’s vital we pay heed to this in Ireland this summer,” he said.

The Irish Cancer Society cites research in the British Journal of Cancer which showed that working in the sun could lead to around one death and around five cases of melanoma per week.

In the UK, four in ten construction workers diagnosed with a melanoma died from the disease, as did just over two in ten farmers.

O’Hagan said: “Coupled with the research from the UK, it shows just how extensive, and unfortunately fatal, sun damage can be for outdoor workers.

You don’t have to be in a Mediterranean country for the sun to do damage to your skin and Irish people need to wise up to that.

The society advises people to follow a few simple steps to take as much care as possible if they are faced with exposure to the sun. They include seeking the shade, covering your bare skin with clothes, wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen.

The Irish Cancer Society has enlisted the help of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Both acknowledge that their members spend quite a lot of time exposed to the sun, and that they need to understand the risks associated with that.

CIF director general Tom Parlon said: “It’s too serious not to”.

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Sean Murray

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