Irish men who work outdoors, in particular farmers, are being urged to protect their skin by the Marie Keating Foundation as part of its new skin cancer awareness campaign.
The foundation said research showed that Irish men had the highest mortality rate in Europe when it came to skin cancer, which is why it decided to focus on Irish men and farmers for its Skin C(h)ancer campaign.
The occurence of melanoma skin cancer has tripled from 1994 to 2014 and over 1,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Ireland each year.
Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation and malignant melanoma survivor, said: “530 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Irish men each year, resulting in 88 deaths annually. We’ve launched this campaign to give Irish men a wake-up call and encourage them to take their skin’s health seriously.
“The foundation is urging people to: wear sunscreen; seek shade; cover up; wear sunglasses; never use sunbeds; and to check their skin.”
Eddie Brennan, Irish hurling manager and sports broadcaster, is the ambassador for the campaign. He grew up on his family’s farm and previously worked as a Garda (Irish police officer) spending a lot of time outdoors.
Brennan added: “Having grown up on the family farm and working as a Garda since 1998 I would have spent so much time outside and I would never really have been aware of the dangers or thought much about the harm I was doing to my skin. This campaign has made me think back and realise that for years I was out in the sun whether it was farming or on the mountain bike or on the beat or even on the hurling pitch, completely exposed.”