Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Farmers face greater risk of getting skin cancer, but take few precautions, study says

Farmers take few precautions in protecting themselves from the sun, says a study by Marshfield Clinic dermatologists published in the Journal of Agromedicine.

The study, which consisted of 476 respondents, 194 of them farmers, found that only 23 percent of farmers always or frequently use sunscreen when out in the sun for more than 15 minutes, even though 80 percent of farmers said they knew skin cancer could be deadly and 84 percent said they believe that wearing sunscreen with SPF of 30 or greater reduces the likelihood of skin cancer. Of all respondents, 34 percent of farmers—and 22 percent of non-farmers—said they were referred for additional evaluation due to identification of a concerning lesion at the screening event.

Farmers—who averaged 60.4 years of age—said they spend an average of 3.9 hours outside between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from May through October, while non-farmers averaged 56.6 years of age and said they spent 2.8 hours per day outside during the same time period, which is considered the most dangerous for contracting skin cancer.

When asked why they choose not to take precautions, 63 percent of farmers said they forget to use sunscreen. Also, 73 percent of farmers and 62 percent of non-farmers said it is too hot to wear long sleeves and long pants, and 45 percent of farmers and 19 percent of non-farmers said wearing a wide-brimmed hat is inconvenient and gets in the way of work. (Read more)

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