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Protect against skin cancer when operating farm equipment

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

People should make sure to guard against UV exposure while driving farm equipment.
People should make sure to guard against UV exposure while driving farm equipment.

While out using farm equipment, people should keep in mind that outdoor work can lead to increased sun exposure.

Because farmers spend a lot of time working outside their chances of contracting skin cancer may be greater. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun increases the likelihood that a person may contract the disease.

Dr David M. Pariser, who is president of the American Academy of Dermatology, noted that more than 11,000 people in the nation die every year because of the disease. However, if skin cancer is found early, its treatment success rate is 99 percent.

"Since research shows farmers are among the least likely workers to receive a skin examination by a physician, it's important that farmers perform regular skin self-examinations, which could mean the difference between life and death," Pariser said.

Along with self-examinations, there are a number of other steps farmers can follow when taking their farm equipment out into the fields. For example, they should consider wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeve shirts and wide-brimmed hats. Exposed skin should be treated with a waterproof sunscreen that has a protection factor of 15 or higher.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the country. In 2005, 53,792 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with the disease.

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