Survey highlights the importance of wearing suncream to protect against skin cancer for outdoor workers.

Eighty per cent of people involved in country life in the South of England believe outdoor workers are at greater risk of developing skin cancer due to longer exposure to the sun, a recent survey has shown.

The survey, completed by Mole Valley Farmers customers showed that while more than half of respondents said that protecting themselves from the sun was “very important”, more than a quarter said that they “hardly ever” used suncream.

The survey, completed mainly by agricultural workers, was conducted by the farming retailer for NHS England’s Cover Up, Mate campaign. 70 per cent of responses were in the South West of England and both Mole Valley Farmers and the National Farmers Union are supporting the campaign.

James Small, regional board chairman for the South West NFU said: “The fact that a quarter of people who responded to the survey said they hardly ever used sun cream, with just ten percent saying they applied it every day is rather worrying.”

He continued: “We would encourage everyone working outdoors to make sure they always use suncream, even on overcast days.”

The NHS England campaign aims to encourage men who work outdoors, such as farmers, construction workers, gardeners and sportsmen to take a safer approach when in the summer to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and it is growing amongst men at a faster rate than it is for women.

Julie Edwards, the head of communications for Mole Valley Farmers added: “If you are working outdoors, it is easy to forget about applying sun cream. By supporting the campaign, we are trying to overcome the masculine stereotype, and encourage all men to wear sun protection and cover up when in the sun. Skin cancer is just not worth the risk”.

Clare Nasir, Met Office presenter and meteorologist added: “If you’re working outdoors, it’s important to remember that UV levels are usually highest between May and September. Clouds don’t always stop UV rays, and unlike the sun’s warmth, it’s difficult to know when they may be harming you - so be sure to check the forecast”.

The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat, so see your GP as soon as possible if any moles or freckles change size or shape. More information can be found at: