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Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer

Sun exposure is an often overlooked hazard when working on a construction job site. While we normally associate sun exposure to heat stroke and sunburns, the long-term effect of exposing the skin to solar radiation has more serious consequences.

sunSkin cancer is caused by long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. Construction workers who operate heavy equipment, lay brick, wrangle rebar, form concrete and perform other tasks in the outdoors are exposed to the sun each day. Over time, the UV light causes DNA in skin cells to mutate and become pre-cancerous and, eventually, cancerous. On average, a person’s risk for deadly melanoma cancer doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns in a lifetime.

Skin cancer is the most common of cancers. More than 3.3 million people are diagnosed annually with non-melanoma skin cancer, and more than 76,000 cases of deadly melanoma cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2016. In the U.S., an estimated 10,130 people will die of melanoma cancer in 2016.

Precautions can be taken to prevent skin cancer, including:

  • Using sun block on any exposed skin. At a minimum, use sun block rated at SPF 15 daily with the following ingredients to block UV rays: Mexoryl, Parsol 1789, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. SPF, or sun-protection factor, measures the length of time a sunscreen will protect your skin from reddening or burning from UV rays. Sunscreens should be liberally applied (a minimum of one ounce) at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Special attention should be given to covering the ears, scalp, lips, neck and backs of the hands. Sunscreens should be reapplied at least every two hours and each time a person gets out of the water or perspires heavily. Studies show that using sunblock reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
  • Covering your head. A wide-brim hard hat is a good head covering against the sun. Add a nape protector or wrap-around sun visor to maximize protection.
  • Wearing clothing that blocks the sun, including long-sleeve shirts and long pants and gloves. Dark, tightly woven clothing is more effective in blocking UV light than light colored clothing. Some clothing has SPF ratings. When covering up, be sure to drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your vision from glare as well as the skin around the eyes from reflective UV light.
  • Getting an annual skin check-up by a dermatologist, particularly if you had sunburns at an early age and are age 45 or older. About 85 percent of people who are diagnosed with melanoma are older than age 45. Removing pre-cancerous lesions from the skin will prevent an affected area from becoming cancerous.

Like many of our customers, Neff Rental recognizes that sun exposure is a potential hazard to our employees. We encourage all of our employees to protect themselves when working outdoors and visiting customer job sites.

For more information about Neff Rental, visit www.Neff Rental.com, or call the closest branch at 888-709-NEFF.

Skin Cancer Types

 Basal Cell

  • A small raised bump that looks smooth, shiny, and translucent.
  • A small, pink, crater-like growth with a raised, rolled border and an indentation in the center.
  • A scar-like area that is white, yellow, or waxy.
  • Reddish, irritated patches of skin.
  • A sore that does not heal.
  • Can usually be removed by excision or topical treatments.
  • If diagnosed and treated early, basal cell cancers can be cured.

Squamous Cell

  • Crusty, warty appearance.
  • A raised growth with a depression in the center.
  • Scaly, red patch area.
  • A sore that does not heal.
  • Can usually be removed by excision or topical treatments.
  • If diagnosed and treated early, squamous cell cancers can be cured.

Melanoma

Changes in the size, shape, or color of moles:

  • Dark mole-like appearance.
  • Flat or slightly elevated discolored patch (tan, brown, red, black, blue, or white).

Change on the skin:

  • New spot developing.
  • Change in size, color, or shape of existing spot or mole.
  • Malignant melanoma carries significant, even fatal implications.
  • Incidence of melanoma has been steadily rising, effecting people of all ages.

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