Heartfelt plea on cancer sun risk

The downside of Point-to-Pointing as horse and jockey part company during the recent meeting in Dartfield, Loughrea.
The downside of Point-to-Pointing as horse and jockey part company during the recent meeting in Dartfield, Loughrea.

THE widow of a popular Galway farmer and Dept. of Agricultural official who battled for over 14 years with skin cancer has pleaded with all outdoor workers to take precautions with the sun – every single morning they wake up.

Figures released by the Irish Cancer Society this week revealed that each year around 600 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in Galway – the annual national figure for the disease is 10,000.

Anne Mitchell, wife of the late John Joe Mitchell, told the Farming Tribune that Irish people working outdoors needed to ‘wise up’ to the skin cancer risk from unprotected exposure to the sun and advised farmers to ‘cream up’ every morning.

“In our own case with John Joe [who passed away in 2011], it just started with a cold sore that didn’t go away – it is absolutely vital if you have a little spot, a cold sore, a mole or any unusual pigmentation on the skin, that you get it seen to straight away,” said Anne Mitchell.

Her heartfelt advice comes in a week where the Irish Cancer Society, the Construction Industry Federation and the IFA came together in a campaign calling on all outdoor workers to be ‘SunSmart’ this Summer.

The Irish Cancer Society said that UK research indicated that working in the sun could lead to one death every week as well as five cases of melanoma [skin cancer] each week.

“The figures from the CSO [Central Statistics Office] show that in 2014, we had around one death every week in Ireland that is related to sun exposure at work.

“Coupled with the research from the UK, it shows just how extensive, and unfortunately fatal, sun damage can be for outdoor workers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.