Farmers urged to get ‘SunSmart’ to help keep skin cancer at bay

Two Tipperary farmers and their entourage layered on the sun screen this week to raise awareness of the Irish Cancer Society’s SunSmart campaign.

Posing on their Cashel farm against a backdrop of bright pink bales, the father-and-son farming duo were joined by members of their family to showcase the importance of being SunSmart at every age when it comes to working outdoors this summer.

Both the Wrap It Pink and SunSmart campaigns will run in tandem throughout the coming months, according to Dairygold in a statement.

An annual initiative, the Wrap It Pink campaign aims to continue raising much-needed funds for breast cancer research and support services for sufferers through the sale of pink silage wrap at Dairygold’s Co-Op Superstores.

Similarly, the Irish Cancer Society’s SunSmart campaign aims to educate farmers and anyone working outdoors of the importance of protecting their skin from harmful UV rays while working long hours in the summer sunshine.

On hand to show their support of both initiatives were: Gillian Foley and John O’Carroll from Dairygold; Claire Bowman from the Irish Cancer Society; and three generations of the Ryan family, Deansgrove, Cashel.

As the most common cancer in Ireland, with more than 11,000 people diagnosed annually, skin cancer makes up a third of cancers detected in this country each year, with current numbers expected to increase more than three-fold by 2040.

The Wrap It Pink campaign, which launched in 2015, has raised almost €70,000 to-date for many of the Irish Cancer Society’s free services, such as the Cancer Nurseline (1800 200 700), the Night Nursing Service and 13 hospital-based Daffodil Centres.

It is hoped that the farming community will embrace the SunSmart message with similar enthusiasm and take heed of the potentially life-saving advice that is on offer; Dairygold has promised to facilitate this “at every corner”, aiming to provide farm safety advice in their Co-Op Superstore branches nationwide and through print and online media resources.

Speaking about the SunSmart campaign, farmer Michael Ryan said: “It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting distracted out in the field; throwing yourself into the day’s work without even realising that temperatures are rising and the sun is out in force.

“We’re all so used to running around, trying to fit as much work into the fine day as possible, when our priority should be, of course, our own health.

There’s often a notion that wearing extra layers or taking a minute to lash on the sun cream isn’t exactly ‘macho’ – but this needs to change if we want to make sure we stay healthy.

John O’Carroll, head of retail at Dairygold Co-Op Superstores, also commented: “It’s all about educating the farming community about the SunSmart code: seek shade; cover up; wear sunglasses and sunscreen; and check the UV Index to get the best protection possible.

“Aside from displaying educational SunSmart signage across our store network, we will also be giving out samples of La Roche Posay sun cream through our 35 stores across Munster and at Dairygold events throughout the summer.”

The ICS’ SunSmart campaign will run from June to September with free La Roche Posay sun cream samples available from Dairygold Co-Op Superstores’ 35 stores across Munster during this time.

Wrap it Pink runs in tandem with this pink silage wrap on sale from Dairygold Co-Op Superstores across Munster and nationwide.

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