Updated: Date updated to reflect 2019 dates for National Melanoma Monday.
May 6, 2019, was National Melanoma Monday. As agriculturists you are concerned about soil and animal health. But what about the health of your skin? Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, a farmer’s wife and assistant professor of dermatology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, urges farmers and ranchers in this two-part series to protect and detect before skin spots become a serious issue.
"I would plead with farmers to get their skin checked," says Sturgeon. "It's so important — if I catch something early, it's no big deal. If you wait until it becomes noticeable to you that's when it can be a problem. And skin cancer can go from not a big deal to a really big deal and just a matter of months so get your skin checked."
May is also National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month. Many clinics across the U.S. are offering free skin screenings. Go to the American Academy of Dermatology to find a location nearest you!
"We put sunscreen on every morning when we brush our teeth," says Sturgeon, whose clinic is offering a free skin screening Saturday, May 12 at the Southwest Cancer Center, Lubbock. "If the area is exposed, sunscreen is put on. We use an SPF of 30 or greater. If you're outside during the day you really need to be reapplying and that's where most people get stuck. I can get a lot of my farmers to put on one coat of sunscreen, but getting them to reapply is really a challenge."
Watch Part II of the Melanoma Awareness Series.
Missed Part I? Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month kicks off, free skin screenings offered.
Click here to learn more about how to prevent skin cancer.