Irish Cancer Society calls on all outdoor workers in Mayo to be SunSmart this summer

The Irish Cancer Society has said that almost one in four (23 per cent ) of skin cancer deaths in Ireland are from the construction, outdoor, and farming industry. As it launches its annual SunSmart campaign, the society said that farmers and construction workers in the Mayo area need to be extra vigilant during the summer months.

It also pointed to UK research which emerged recently showing that working in the sun could lead to one death and some five melanoma cases a week. The report, published in the British Journal of Cancer, said that construction workers diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer had the highest number of deaths (four in 10 ), followed by agriculture workers (two in 10 ). The society has teamed up with the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA ) and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF ) to urge all outdoor workers to protect their skin and reduce their risk of skin cancer.

Launching the campaign, Kevin O’Hagan, cancer prevention manager with the Irish Cancer Society, said, “These figures from the CSO show that in 2014, we had around one death every week in Ireland that is related to sun exposure at work. Coupled with the research from the UK, it shows just how extensive, and unfortunately fatal, sun damage can be for outdoor workers.

“It’s vital that we pay heed to this in Mayo this summer. 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. It would be really useful if work places whose employees work predominately outdoors did a risk assessment and put in place policy in relation to protection from sun exposure.

“Every year in Ireland, over 10,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer, and figures show that 330 people were diagnosed in Mayo. More men than women were diagnosed with 185 men getting skin cancer compared to 145 women. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, everyone should protect their skin, and this summer we are asking people to follow our SunSmart Code for best protection.”

For more information on skin cancer or how to be SunSmart, visit To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of cancer contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone (1800 ) 200700, email [email protected] or drop into one of 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide. For information on Daffodil Centre locations and opening times email [email protected].


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