40th Annual Marshfield Mall Farm Show Returns Feb. 19-20
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Skin cancer will be diagnosed in 1 in 5 Americans during their lifetimes and those who spend their working lives in the sun, such as farmers, are at greater risk for developing it.
The earlier skin cancer is detected, the better it can be treated. To make it convenient and affordable to get a screening, the National Farm Medicine Center and Marshfield Clinic Dermatology will offer free skin cancer screenings on Feb. 19 at the Marshfield Mall Farm Show.
“This screening is convenient for farmers because it is in a place that the farmer is already going to: A farm show,” said Melissa Ploeckelman, NFMC Outreach Specialist. “Also, this quick screening doesn’t take long. An individual can come in and see a dermatologist and be back on their way in about 15 minutes. This makes it fast and easy for a farmer who is busy focused on other things.”
A dermatologist will be able to take a look at any spots of concern and provide advice about how to spot skin cancer by observing changes in the size, shape, and color of a mole. If anything suspicious is observed, the participant will be encouraged to follow up with a personal physician or dermatologist.
“This screening is also convenient because the farmer knows if they need to take some action on a spot or if it is ‘just a harmless mole.’ They don’t need the added worry of cancer when they see a small spot,” said Ploeckelman. “This is a way to detect skin cancer early without taking too much time.”
Taking time to get a screening can be a challenge for farmers when work is 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“Many times if they do not hurt or feel sick, they will not take the time to head to the doctor,” Ploeckelman, who grew up on a farm. “This free skin cancer screening can help farmers get the screening they need without feeling as though they are in a doctor’s office.”
Since 2011, more than 2,000 people have been screened for skin cancers at eight similar events, resulting in the presumptive diagnosis of 170 cancers and more than 600 referrals. No appointment is needed to take part in the screening at the Marshfield Mall Farm Show from 10-3 p.m.
More so than the general public, farmers are exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV) which is a major risk factor for all skin cancers including melanoma, the most deadly.
To decrease their risk for skin cancer, farmers can protect themselves while working outdoors through a few simple practices. This includes avoiding the sun’s rays between 10 and 2 p.m., covering up the skin with a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat with neck protection, and regularly applying sunscreen — even on cloudy days.
“Another fact many people forget is that even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds,” said Ploeckelman. “Many farmers think they don’t need sunscreen if it is cloudy, but it is still a very important necessity.”
Sweat can contribute to skin damage since it increases photosensitivity of the skin and therefore the risk of sunburns. Also, a farmer may forget to reapply sunscreen when it comes off while sweating and get sunburned.
The National Farm Medicine Center will hand out tools for farms to protect themselves from the sun, including hats, sunscreen, and protective lip balm.
“Although it is winter now and farmers may not feel they need these items, we know summer is coming soon and the farmers will be too busy to visit us,” said Ploeckelman.
The area’s largest farm show will feature many other vendors, including A & M Concrete and Construction Inc., Alforex Seeds, Chili Implement, Clark Electric Co-op, Eagle Point Solar, Focus on Energy/Techniart, Forward Insurance Agency, Hixwood Metal Inc., Kozlovsky Dairy Equipment, Rib Falls Repair, Schierl Tire and Service, Seehafer Refrigeration, Inc. and Swiderski Equipment.
The show will take place Feb. 19-20 from 10-4 p.m. at the Marshfield Mall.