Working Life: 'I cherish my morning cup of coffee with my breakfast'

Maria McEnery, cancer prevention officer, HSE National Cancer Control Programme
Working Life: 'I cherish my morning cup of coffee with my breakfast'

Maria McEnery, cancer prevention officer, HSE National Cancer Control Programme

7am

My alarm wakes me up and I brush my teeth, shower, clean my face and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 50 daily on exposed skin. This protects my skin, reducing my risk of skin cancer, the most common cancer in Ireland. I cherish my morning cup of coffee with my breakfast.

9am

I catch up on research and news stories relating to cancer prevention, especially skin cancer, review my week's work which involves coordinating the work of the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan, respond to emails and urgent queries. I plan for my day ahead of meetings and projects I am working on.

10am

I usually have a call with various working groups such as the outdoor workers group on the development of an animation video to raise awareness about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun among outdoor workers. I also work with various groups and organisations to promote the Healthy Ireland SunSmart 5 S’s: slip on clothing that covers your skin, slop on sunscreen, slap on a wide brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.

1pm

I have a quick lunch and go for a short walk with my fiancé every lunchtime hail, rain or shine.

3pm

I have my weekly meeting with the HSE Communications team and Healthy Ireland team to progress the work on the annual SunSmart campaign which runs from April to September. The campaign aims to increase awareness of how to enjoy the sun safely, supporting people in simple ways to protect their skin to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

There are three major types of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. The first two are non-melanoma skin cancers, of which there are over 10,000 cases in Ireland each year. Melanoma is less common but can be more serious.

5pm

I check the project timelines and monitoring framework for delivery of our National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan and update accordingly.

6pm

I do a workout at home or go for a run. Catch up with my fiancé, have dinner and share our day's news. We then relax for the evening and watch some TV.

  • Be SunSmart and protect your skin when outdoors, even when it’s cloudy. Follow the SunSmart 5 S’s. For more information visit www.hse.ie/sunsmart

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