Farmers sun exposure, skin protection and public health campaigns: An Australian perspective

Article English OPEN
Smit-Kroner, Christel ; Brumby, Susan (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, volume 2, pages 602-607 (issn: 2211-3355, eissn: 2211-3355)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.07.004, pmc: PMC4721376
  • Subject: Review Article | Agricultural workers' disease | Sunscreens | Disease cost | Ultraviolet rays | Clothing | Health campaigns
    mesheuropmc: food and beverages | respiratory tract diseases | integumentary system

Non-melanoma skin cancer is a common and costly cancer in agricultural populations. Prevention and early detection are an effective way to decrease the burden of disease and associated costs. To examine sun exposure and skin protection practices in agricultural workers and farmers a thematic review of the literature between 1983 and 2014 was undertaken. Comparison between studies was complicated by differences in study design, definitions of skin protection, and analytic methods used. Farmers are the most exposed to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation of all outdoor workers and the level of reported skin protection by farmers is suboptimal. Years of public health campaigns have failed to adequately address farmers' specific needs. Increased rates of skin cancer and subsequent higher costs are expected. Estimates of sun exposure and skin protection practice indicate that protective clothing is the most promising avenue to improve on farmers' skin protection. Early detection needs to be part of public health campaigns. This review explores the quantitative data about Australian farmers and their skin protective behaviours. We investigate what the documented measurable effect of the public health campaign Slip!Slop!Slap! has had on agricultural workers and farmers and make recommendations for future focus.
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