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Voice: Avoid skin cancer, wear wide-brimmed hats when outdoors

June 20, 2001

The University of Minnesota has started a campaign to have farmers exchange their baseball caps for wider-rimed hats or sombreros. This is an attempt to reduce the incidence of skin cancer. Melanoma, the worst form of skin cancer, can develop years after exposure to the sun's rays. It also can develop internally.

I should know. I assisted my father in his farming operation. Then I farmed in partnership with brother Tom, often which I farmed on my own.

I moved to El Centro in October 1976 (from the freezer to the oven). In this area I was employed by a farm crops research project.

This exposure to the sun's rays resulted in an outbreak of skin cancer on my right outer ear. This in turn caused the amputation of part of that ear. Now, too late, I wear a wide-rim hat. Meantime, brother Leon, farming in Minnesota, reports the appearance of near-cancer on his lips.

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I suggest that area farmers, farm workers and other spending many hours in the sun accept the University of Minnesota's suggestion and use large-rimmed hats. And if peculiar, unexplained spots are found on the skin, visit your friendly dermatologist.

ROBERT W. HAUBRICH

Brawley

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