Outdoor workers at risk of skin cancer

NSW men working outdoors say they forget to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide while at work - despite long hours outside and a belief they're at risk of developing skin cancer, .

In the Cancer Institute NSW's recent survey of sun protection behaviours for 40-65-year-old men, 90 per cent of those working outdoors admit they don't routinely use all five sun protection practices to protect themselves from UV exposure.

It's not just men working outdoors who need to protect themselves. In general, men are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Men 40 years and older are two and half times more likely to die of melanoma than women of the same age.

Men in the Hunter New England are particularly at risk. The region has been declared a melanoma hotspot: one of the state's top five regions where skin cancer rates are at their highest.

Professor David Currow, Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, said men, especially those working outdoors, need to be aware of their skin cancer risk, and take action.

"It's most concerning men working outdoors aren't protecting themselves, given their high levels of UV exposure.

"Outdoor workers, like everyone, need to protect themselves properly every day by wearing protective clothing, SPF 30+ sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and seeking shade."

According to the survey more than half of men working outdoors (52%) believe their job puts them at risk of skin cancer.

Professor Currow highlighted the important role of workplaces in reducing skin cancer.

"Ensuring work places have sun protection policies and provide staff with the tools they need to protect themselves from harmful UV is vital," Professor Currow said. "This is why Safe Work NSW is a key partner in delivering the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy."

The survey highlighted that poor sun protection behaviours were not just an issue for men working outdoors. Approximately half of all men surveyed (47 per cent) say they "like to get a suntan". Almost half (45 per cent) report they got sunburnt last summer and of those 80 per cent say they forgot to protect themselves from the sun.

"Skin cancer is Australia's national cancer, and we're all at risk," Professor Currow said. "Everyone needs to properly protect their skin every day as UV in NSW remains high almost year round even on an overcast days."

In 2019-20, NSW Government, through Cancer Institute NSW, invested $1.1 million in skin cancer prevention programs.

This story Outdoor workers at risk of skin cancer first appeared on The Armidale Express.