Skin cancer prevention

skin cancer prevention

Farmers and agricultural workers have a high risk of skin cancer because they usually work outdoors. Protect yourself from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer by wearing a broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeved shirts, long pants and sunscreen.

Become familiar with the ultraviolet (UV) index predicted for the day. UV index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher. It is important to note a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, how close you are to the equator, scattering and reflection affect UV levels.

Avoid working outdoors in the middle of the day if possible when ultraviolet rays are at their highest

Farmers are also at risk of eye damage from too much sunlight while working long hours outdoors. Always wear sunglasses fitted with side arms and sun hats to protect your eyes and to reduce the risk of facial skin cancers.

You also have a duty to protect any workers from the effects of the sun. Protecting outdoor workers – more information. Skin cancer is a preventable disease and the majority of skin cancers can be successfully treated, if found early. Being familiar with your skin and aware of any changes should help you detect any suspicious lumps or spots as soon as they develop. Don’t just rely on an annual skin check to detect any suspicious spots. Using the combination of five simple sun protection measures and avoiding outdoor farming tasks in the middle of the day or when UV radiation is highest, will assist in reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Slip on long sleeves and pants
Slop on 50+ sunscreen
Slap on hat
Seek shade
Slideon sunglasses

Find out more about this topic at Cancer Council Australia.

References used for this topic page

Clinical care:
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
Research & reviews:

Fast facts:

Skin cancer prevention

  • Farmers and agricultural workers have a high risk of developing skin cancer.
  • When the UV index is predicted to be 3 or above, protect yourself from the sun with hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, shade and clothing.
  • Share tasks so the same person is not always working outdoors.
  • Have regular skin checks so any skin cancers can be detected early.

Last updated: 18th February, 2019