Federated Farmers wants to remind farmers and growers this is a good time to be thinking about getting “sunsmart” for summer.
More than 4000 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year, accounting for 80% of skin cancer deaths in New Zealand.
It has been estimated up to 25% of farmers and growers have had a skin cancer.
Farmers and growers are at higher risk of catching melanoma due to New Zealand’s UV radiation intensity, and the time they spend outside.
However, melanoma and skin cancers are preventable and curable diseases.
The right protection techniques and annual checks can save a life, Federated Farmers vice president and Wairarapa arable farmer Karen Williams says.
“It needs to become routine to put on sunscreen before going outside. On our farm we have got big pump bottles of sunscreen at the house and down at the sheds, and smaller bottles in all the vehicles, along with plenty of brimmed hats.
“As we know, farmers are very busy people, but an annual check on your health and wellbeing, which includes a skin check, could save your life,” she says.
Regular checks with a specialist or GP are the best way for those at risk to receive skin monitoring, and if melanoma is detected early enough it can be successfully treated.
Federated Farmers supports Melanoma New Zealand’s recent campaign ‘Get Spotted’ which aims for a New Zealand with no deaths from melanoma.
Farmers who go and get themselves checked and stock up on sunscreen for themselves, family, staff, and farm visitors will help see this vision realised.
“It’s a legitimate farm expense. It’s no different than buying a high vis vest to be seen, helmets to protect your head, or safety boots to protect your toes,” Karen says.