TOOLBOX TALK 02/60
TOPIC: SKIN CANCER
OBJECTIVE: TO PREVENT SKIN CANCER

Some things to know before you give your talk.

Not all the causes of skin cancer are known but many cases of skin cancer occur in those areas of the body heavily exposed to sunlight over the years. A high percentage occurs among those who have outdoor occupations, particularly if they are fair-skinned.

The most common forms of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, are 95 percent curable with early diagnosis and surgical removal. The least common form, melanoma, is very serious and has a survival rate after five years of 63 percent, about the same as breast cancer.

 

What are the signs of possible skin cancer?

  • Any unusual growth or colour change in skin
  • The appearance of a small, shiny, pearly bump on exposed skin areas which may also bleed
  • Nodules, or scaly red patches with well-defined outlines which usually appear on the lips, face, or tips of the ears
  • A mole, or skin near a mole that changes in size, shape, colour or sensation

If any of these changes are noticed, a physician should be seen. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment results in very high cure rates for skin cancers.

 

What can outdoor workers do if they hope to avoid skin cancer?

  • Apply sunscreen lotion at least daily to all exposed skin areas. After washing a body part, reapply the lotion. The sunscreen rating (SPF) should be at least 15, except fair-skinned people need a screen rate SPF 25-30. If appropriate clothing is worn, sunscreens are only necessary for the face, neck and hands.
  • Whenever outside, wear a loose-fitting long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Hard hats will protect the scalp, gloves the hands.

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