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Outdoor workers warned of skin cancer risk

Outdoor workers warned of skin cancer risk

Sunday 28 July 2019

Outdoor workers warned of skin cancer risk


it's not just sunbathers at risk of skin cancer - outdoor workers ranging from farmers to sportspeople and construction workers are all being warned to take steps to avoid the deadly disease too, as cases rise in Jersey.

The message is the subject of a new campaign by the Donna Annand Melanoma Charity (DAMC) and the Parish of St Helier to raise awareness among Jersey employees who spend most of their time outdoors.

Earlier this year, the DAMC launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of sun exposure whist working outdoors and teamed up with local firms Camerons and Normans, who supported the initiative to raise awareness amongst the building and construction sector, where 55% of cancer patients work.

The Donna Annand Melanoma Charity was created in memory of Donna after she passed away in 2011 from a malignant melanoma - the deadliest former of skin cancer, which often appears as a new or changing mole and is one of the most common forms of cancer in young adults aged 25 to 29. Skin cancer has also become much more common in Jersey over recent years and is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. 

Skin cancer melanoma moles

Pictured: The Donna Annand Melanoma Charity encourages prevention and early detection. 

Donna wanted people to be aware of the dangers of melanoma and that early detection of the disease is key and her family and friends have been campaigning since to fulfill her wish.

There is no cure for Malignant Melanoma, so the charity's key message is 'Prevention, Protection and Early Detection!'

In addition to frequent pop-up mole clinics where islanders can have their moles checked, the charity also delivers training to GPs so that they can spot any suspicious lesions requiring referral to a dermatologist.

Last year, they started extending their training beyond the medical community to include health and beauty practitioners, such as hairdressers, tattoo artists or physiotherapists.

DAMC_Outdoor_workers.jpg

Pictured: The new campaign focuses on the dangers of sun exposure while working outdoors.

This year, they've decided to put the emphasis on employers and employees who work outdoors. 

The new visuals for the campaign feature the charity's mascot, Alan the Mole, in various guises: Farmer Alan, Sporty Alan, Builder Alan and Gardener Alan. They encourage everyone to wear sun shirts and hats and regularly apply sunscreen when working outside, with hashtags such as  "apply don't fry" and "mind your moles."

Each visual also features different warnings specific to the activity presented. Farmers are therefore being warned that they are at great risk of getting a sunburn, but that it is "highly preventable by wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and regularly applying sunscreen."

Sporty Alan encourages people "not to get served with skin cancer", as sweating due to physical exercise may contribute to UV-related skin damage.

sunscreen-1461332_640.jpg

Pictured: Outdoor workers should apply sunscreen, preferably SPF 30+ and water resistant.

“We are excited about working with the Parish of St. Helier who are kindly supporting us to reach a wider audience in Jersey," Kerry Petulla, Chair of the DAMC stated. 

"The DAMC encourages local businesses, who employ staff to work outdoors, to recognise sun exposure as an occupational hazard and to make provisions for their staff so that they can work safely outdoors in the summer months, when the UV is strong."

The sun safety measures for outdoor workers may include:

  • clothing that covers the shoulders and provides a barrier to sun exposure;
  • wearing a hat that provides protection to the face, ears and neck;
  • wear sunglasses
  • apply sunscreen, preferably SPF 30+ and water resistant.

In addition to adopting sun safe measures, the DAMC says it is important outdoor workers also get to know their skin and check themselves on a regular basis for any changes in their moles.

Video: The signs, symptoms and ways to prevent melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - as told by Alan the mole.

Outdoor workers should become familiar with the ABCDE of Melanoma and consult their GP immediately if they are concerned about any mole.

  • A – Asymmetry where one half of the mole is not the same as the other half 
  • B – Border the mole has irregular ragged or blurred borders
  • C – Colour the mole has a variation of colour and pigmentation throughout 
  • D – Diameter the diameter of the mole is greater than 6mm
  • E – Evolving changes in the mole

Tony Andrews from the Parish of St. Helier added: “The Constable Simon Crowcroft and Parish officers are very supportive of this initiative and are looking forward to engaging with our workforce as part of our commitment to their well- being, not only for the teams who work in the open but also the office and Honorary teams who work with us." 

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