Skin cancer – risks and early signs

skin cancer

Farmers spend a lot of time outdoors.  Without proper protection this can increase the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be a life-threatening condition and protecting your own skin and that of your family should be taken very seriously.

Sun exposure is the cause of most skin cancers in Australia. And people who work outdoors get up to 10 times more sun exposure than indoor workers.  Being fair skinned and having moles and freckles can increase your risk further.

Check your skin (and your friend’s and family’s skin) regularly for any changes like moles that are raised or changed in shape or colour, or spots you haven’t seen before.

See your doctor and ask for a sun spot check if you are concerned.


  • Skin cancer can be prevented:
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat, even on cloudy days
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Work in the shade if possible between 11am and 3.00 pm.
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Use sunscreen SPF30+
  • Check out the UV forecasts from the weather bureau on the Farmer Health weather pages. You need sun protection when the UV index is 3 or above.
Common risk factors for skin cancer include having fair skin, having many moles and freckles, a personal or family history of skin cancer, excessive sun exposure and solarium use. Some ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is important for bone and muscle health, but too much UV can cause sunburn, premature ageing, skin and eye damage and ultimately skin cancer. Protecting skin from over-exposure can help reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

References used for this topic page

More information:

Cancer Council Australia
Cancer Institute NSW
Sunsmart Victoria

Fast facts:

Skin cancer – risks and early signs

  • Farmers spend a lot of time outdoors; this can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Check your skin regularly for any changes, especially moles or freckles that change.
  • See your doctor if you see any change.  Skin cancer, if picked up early can usually be treated.
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses, keep your skin covered as much as possible and use sunscreen on exposed skin.

Last updated: 21st November, 2016