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May 22, 2012   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
May 22, 2012

On a farm visit with State Assistant Veterinarian Dr. Nealy Barrett, left, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, right, protects himself from UV rays with a wide-brim hat and a long-sleeved shirt.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. When Mother Nature sends scorching hot summers to Alabama, farmers use a variety of tools and resources to protect crops and livestock from the relentless heat. But before heading out for the day’s work, it’s important for farmers - and everyone - to first protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.

On May 25, the Friday before Memorial Day, the Alabama Farmers Federation reminds everyone to be aware of sun safety on “Don’t Fry Day.”

Proclaimed by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, “Don’t Fry Day” encourages people to protect their skin while outdoors to help prevent the development of skin cancer.

Few know the dangers of skin cancer like Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby. He was in his late 20s the first time he had nonmelanoma cancerous skin cells removed. Newby admits before that time he often wore short sleeves and went without a hat while working in his family’s cotton fields. But, things have changed.

“I wear a big broad hat now when I go outside,” he said. “I can’t go without it. I even wear long-sleeve shirts year-round.”

Newby has had cancerous and precancerous spots removed from his arms, head and ears. He now visits a skin doctor three to four times a year and wears 110 SPF sunscreen everyday, even if he plans to spend most of his time indoors.

“Sunscreen is great,” he said. “It takes time to apply, but the time and money you spend on using sunscreen is worth not having the pain that goes with skin cancer.”

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, outdoor workers, including farmers, are twice as likely as indoor workers to develop nonmelanoma skin cancers.

To protect skin, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention recommends the following: do not burn or tan; seek shade often, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; wear sun-protective clothing; generously apply sunscreen; and use extra caution near water, snow and sand. The council says it’s important to follow as many of these steps as possible for the best protection against overexposure to UV radiation.

For more information, including skin cancer statistics, visit the council website at www.SkinCancerPrevention.org.

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