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May 23, 2013   Email to Friend 

Katie Wendland
(334) 613-4385
May 23, 2013

Federation State Beef Committee Member Bill Lipscomb, above, knows first-hand just how important it is to practice sun safety. After winning the battle against skin cancer on his hands, Lipscomb routinely wears hats, long-sleeve shirts, sunglasses and gloves whenever working outdoors.
When Southern summers come to town, sweltering heat and intolerable humidity send farmers and livestock running for shade. It is hard to hide from the harmful rays of the sun, but there are ways farmers can protect themselves while working in the summer heat.

Since Memorial Day kicks off the summer vacation season, the Alabama Farmers Federation reminds farmers and members there is no better time to begin practicing sun safety techniques than “Don’t Fry Day,” May 24.

Developed by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, “Don’t Fry Day” is dedicated to raising awareness about skin cancer. While the council aims education at all demographics, special attention is paid to those who work outdoors — including farmers.

Federation State Beef Committee Member Bill Lipscomb, who also serves on the Autauga County Farmers Federation board of directors, says his familiarity with sun safety precautions follows a personal battle with skin cancer.

“I went shirtless as a teenager because it was cool,” said Lipscomb, who developed skin cancer on his hands. “I never thought about sun safety. But I’ll be the first to tell you today, [while] tan is cool, it isn’t worth it in the long run. Wear a hat and gloves. You may not think about protecting your hands, but they’re important, too.”

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) report nearly 20 people out of every 100,000 were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2009.

Bret Stanfield, public information specialist with ADPH’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition, encourages all Alabamians, especially farmers, to take proper safety precautions. Applying sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher; wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts; and seeking shade whenever possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., are all good sun safety habits to practice, he said. 

“Ninety percent of all skin cancers can be prevented by practicing sun safety,” Stanfield said. “By following these guidelines, Alabamians can greatly reduce their chances of developing melanoma — the most serious type of skin cancer.”

For more information and additional skin cancer prevention tips, visit SkinCancerPrevention.org or ADPH.org/skincancer.

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