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Are you Sun Smart? Webinar

A webinar to raise awareness about the risks of skin cancer and UV exposure in the farming community. Join Teagasc on Wednesday, 21 April from 11.30am -1pm along with the HSE & the Irish Cancer Society who will advise what you can do to protect yourself against the risks of skin cancer & UV exposure


Skin Cancer & Irish Farmers

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, yet is largely preventable by protecting skin from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  In Ireland, UV from the sun is strongest from April to September between 11am-3pm, even when it is cloudy. Most people living in Ireland have fair skin, the type which burns easily and tans poorly, so are at high risk of UV damage and skin cancer.

Irish farmers have a three times higher cancer mortality than blue/white collar workers with UV sunlight skin cancer being a significant cause of this heightened death rate.

According to Dr Triona McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, farmers appear to have a number of misunderstandings of the dangers of UV sunlight risks and protective measures. Farmers are particularly vulnerable to this cancer risk due to the length of time they work outdoors and their self-employed work status where controls and social supports are less readily applicable, she stated.

If you work outdoors you are exposed to 2-3 times more UV than someone who works indoors so you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Exposure to UV damage is irreversible, permanent and cumulative with each exposure. Dr. McCarthy shares advice on reducing skin cancer risk here:

Reduce skin cancer risk

Use protective clothing that covers your exposed skin including long sleeved, collared shirts, broad brimmed hats and sunglasses. To help protect your skin additionally use broad spectrum water-resistant Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30+ and apply every two hours “.

When the UV index is 3 and above, you need to protect your skin, even if it is cloudy. UV is strongest between April and September, and between 11am and 3pm. You can check the UV index on the Met Eireann website (see www.met.ie/uv-index).

Sun Smart Webinar

To improve farmers’ knowledge related to occupational skin cancer, Teagasc will hold a public Webinar on this topic on Wednesday 21st April, 11.30am to 1.00pm.  All farmers and members of the public are invited to attend. The Link to the Webinar is www.teagasc.ie/SunSmartWebinar

Speakers at the Webinar will include:

  • Kevin O’Hagan, Health Promotion Manager, Irish Cancer Society
  • Barbara McGrogan, Research Scientist, National Cancer Control Programme
  • Lynn Swinburne, Senior Health Promotion Officer, National Screening Service
  • Maria McEnery, Prevention Co-ordinator, National Cancer Control Programme

The Webinar will be chaired by Dr John McNamara, Teagasc Health and Safety Specialist.

Further information on UV Sunlight risks is available from the HSE here