What Golfers Should Know About Skin Cancer
The days are getting longer, sun is at last threatening to appear (in between showers, snow storms and hail) and Golfers want to get out there.
But …. beware. The sun can be an enemy, and with skin cancer hovering as a threat, it’s wise to take sensible precautions.
When you rummage through your golf bag, along with the Tees, Balls, Clubs, Glove, etc. make sure you have a suitable Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Golfers Are Especially At Risk for Skin Cancer
The first thing you should know is that we all are at risk of developing skin cancer, regardless of race or skin tone. Yet some of us are more at risk than others, and this includes frequent golfers. Why are golfers especially at risk of developing skin cancer? Lisa Fayed, Cancer expert, says why:
* Tee Times: Most people tee off between 10:00 a.m. and 2 p.m., which coincidentally is when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Opt for an early morning or late afternoon tee time instead. It may also save you money on green fees to tee off at a later time also.
* Length of the Game: A typical game of 18 holes will take about 4 hours or so. A busier course will leave you outdoors for much longer, being exposed to harmful UV rays.
* Little to No Shade: Yes, golf courses are professionally landscaped with beautiful trees and foliage, but chances are you aren’t hanging out underneath it while you are golfing. If you can, try to rest under shade while you wait your turn.
What You Should Be Wearing to Play Golf Ideally, you should be wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. However, this may not be practical in warm weather climates. When you can’t keep covered, remember to use sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, including areas that are often neglected — the hands, ears, and the back of the neck. Golf sandals are becoming increasingly popular, so don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet if you choose to wear them.
Sun-protective clothing is also available at sporting goods retailers and at many golf pro shops. The fabric used in sun-protective clothing works like sunscreen, allowing only a limited amount of UV rays to penetrate the fabric. It provides excellent protection and is recommended by several cancer organizations.
A hat or visor isn’t just for keeping the sun out of your eyes; it’s also for keeping the sun’s harmful rays off your face. Choose a hat or visor with a five-inch brim so it is long enough to provide adequate protection. A golf umbrella is another item that most golfers keep in the bag, but often forget about. An umbrella is a great way to get much-needed shade on those long, sunny days on the green.
Lynne Fraser, from the English Golf Union, echoes this advice, and send me this information from their website:
Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is rising faster than any other type of deadly cancer. To add to that, Cancer Research UK claims that sunburn tends to occur when people are not deliberately sunbathing, but are outdoors doing or watching sport. Protection from the sun while out on an exposed golf course is therefore vital and protection is easy with regular application of sun cream.
Cancer Research UK claims that sunburn tends to happen when people are not deliberately sunbathing, but are outdoors doing or watching sport.
So protecting your skin from the sun while out on an exposed golf course is vital. With skin cancer a growing problem in the UK and protection easy with regular application of sun cream, now is the time to act.
Here are a few top tips for staying safe in the sun:
- Apply sun cream 15-30 minutes before exposure to the sun and regularly reapply. The more you apply the better protected you are.
- Don’t forget to cover up exposed areas such as hands, ears, feet and behind the neck. Make sure they’re well protected by a high factor sun cream (SPF30 and above is best).
- Use a high factor protection lipscreen to protect your lips from the sun. Uvistat SPF 50 is one of the most effective lipscreens on the market with both high factor UVA and UVB protection.
- Cover up as much as possible with loose fitting clothes and sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to protect your head, ears and the back of your neck.
- Always remember that the sun does not need to be hot to damage your skin. The heat from the sun comes from infra-red rays, not UV rays, so you can still burn on cool days.
And don’t forget, if you have a shower then go and sit on the terrace for a welcome drink, re-apply sunscreen.
And if your club is looking for a suitable charity to benefit from an event, Colin Montgomerie has set up the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation in memory of his mother.
“In January 1991 I lost my mother, Elizabeth, to lung cancer. During this difficult time, I became aware of the devastating effect that cancer can have on the patient, their carers and families. With this in mind, I set up the Elizabeth Montgomerie Foundation with the aim of raising funds to provide information and support to those affected by cancer.
I am pleased to announce that the first project the Foundation will fund is the Elizabeth Montgomerie Building in Lanarkshire, a haven where users can go for advice as well as emotional and psychological support. We will develop this Building with Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, who have built a great reputation in Scotland over the last 10 years or so, and I’m delighted to be working with them to create a new Centre.
To donate, or for more information go to www.elizabethmontgomerie.org