Farmers, by the nature of their work, are exposed to sun all day long. According to the American Cancer Society, over 68,000 cases of melanoma skin cancer were diagnosed in 2010. This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and is often preventable if certain precautions are taken. The sun is at its hottest between 10 and 4. While working out in it during these times, remember the following:
- Use sunscreen. An SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher is recommended. Remember, even if you are wearing a baseball type hat, your neck and ears are exposed to the sun. Sweat-proof varieties are available and will remain on even through the rigors of the day.
- Cover up with light-colored clothing, and make sure it fits snuggly (to avoid being caught in equipment). If you can see through the fabric, the sun’s rays can reach your skin, so make sure it’s a tightly woven fabric. Clouds do not stop UV rays, so use protection even on a cloudy day.
If you are concerned about a mole or spot, remember the ABC’s of skin cancer:
A = Asymetry: Does one side of the spot look different? Normal moles are symmetrical
B = Border: Jagged borders should be checked out
C = Color: Normal spots are all one color. Variations could be cause for concern
D = Diameter: If the spot is larger than a pencil eraser, have it checked out
E = Elevation: A mole that stands up off the skin should be looked at.
If you are worried about a spot, have a dermatologist look at it. If caught early, most skin cancers are curable. For more information, visit: www.cancer.org.
Source: Kelly Ewalt, Michigan State University Extension