Outdoor workers put themselves at risk

The NSW Government Cancer Institute is using World Cancer Day as reminder for outdoor workers to protect themselves against harmful UV radiation.

Despite long hours outside and a belief they're at risk of developing skin cancer the institute's survey showed NSW men working outdoors said they forget to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide while at work.

In a recent survey of sun protection behaviours for men aged 40-65 years by the Cancer Institute NSW, 90 percent of those working outdoors admit they didn't routinely use all five sun protection practices to protect themselves from UV exposure and according to the information it's not just men working outdoors who need to protect themselves.

According to the institute in general, men are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer especially men 40 years and older who are two and half times more likely to die of melanoma than women of the same age.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow 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," he said.

"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 52 percent of men working outdoors 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 are providing staff with the tools they need to protect themselves from harmful UV is vital," Professor Currow said.

The survey highlighted poor sun protection behaviours were not just an issue for men working outdoors.

Just 47 percent of men surveyed said they "like to get a suntan".

45 percent reported they got sunburnt last summer and of those 80 percent said 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."

The NSW Government and the Cancer Institute of NSW are urging local men to protect themselves. Photo: Supplied.

The NSW Government and the Cancer Institute of NSW are urging local men to protect themselves. Photo: Supplied.

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

To check if your area is a melanoma hot spot http://bit.ly/melanomahotspot.