Equus Design and Build are delighted to support the British Skin Foundation. The BSF is a charity close to the company’s heart following Managing Director Hugh Daly’s personal experiences with skin cancer. Hugh shares his cancer story as a warning to other outdoor workers to take sun safety seriously and raise awareness of the risks.
Whilst I am in good health today the everyday thought of re-occurrence of cancerous melanoma’s hangs heavy. I was first diagnosed in 2011 after my wife saw a mole on my back that had turned black and had jagged edges. After a short internet search, we decided I should go for a check-up. In short, the appointment was made and followed by a blur of activity from the NHS that resulted with me in hospital for two weeks having my entire lymph node systems removed from under my right arm.
Without this treatment I would be dead. Without constant checking from my wife and regular NHS checks I would be dead.
Sunburn and skin cancer
My skin cancer was undoubtedly caused by being sunburnt early in my teens and my twenties. I am an Irishman with a fair complexion so was frequently sunburnt. I was an extremely active lad, a farm worker, and would spend all day with my shirt off basking in the direct sunlight.
As soon as we had the first bit of sun in April my shirt would be straight off, trying to catch a tan! This would result in me going red, being burnt, my skin shedding, more burning and eventually having some colour to impress all around on how fit and healthy I was! (Oh, the irony!) It was, (and still is to some), a badge of honour to be tanned and a snub to those pasty white office boys! When I was young no-one used sunscreen and you couldn’t exactly ask your mate on site or on the farm to slap some sun cream on; it just wasn’t the manly thing to do and sadly it’s still an issue today. It was deemed attractive and eye catching to have a great tan. And then by October I would be back to being lily white!
I never have, and never would, actively sunbathe on holiday or a beach as that was just a waste of precious time. In very hot countries and where it was allowed I would always have my shirt off and shorts on. I stopped this process in my early thirties when I became a little ‘heavier’ shall we say and became more office based than hands on working.
Since my first operation I have had two more scrapes, I had the other sentinel node removed in my other arm after my wife found another suspicious mole the size of a pencil head. Last year a cancerous mole on my neck was removed, but fortunately was removed quickly enough with no further consequences. I feel it’s only a matter of time before it bites me again.
Skin cancer in the family
Lastly and by no means least My 21-year-old daughter, Florence, has just had an operation to remove a cancerous melanoma form her knee and three nodes from her groin area. Florence will need to go back for further testing. She, like me, has worked and been outside since she was very young and already has skin cancer.
Promote the dangers
We really want to, and need to, promote the dangers of skin cancer to those in the construction industry. I’m sharing our story to help raise awareness of the risks, both to members of our team and the wider construction community.
Working with the British Skin Foundation
We’re proud to be working with the British Skin Foundation to supply literature to all our staff and help to spread the word on the dangers of the sun’s UV rays and to encourage sunscreen use. We have a blanket policy of at least t-shirts on in summer, and always promote the use of hats. However, we are also dedicated to spreading more awareness of sun safety within our workforce and associated sub-contractors.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact the team