WASHINGTON — The Friday before Memorial Day is “Don’t Fry Day,” a time to remind people at the start of summer about the dangers from exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is on the rise in America and is the most common cancer among young adults aged 25-29. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SunWise program and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention have partnered to provide simple tips on protecting yourself that could save lives.
“Many people still do not realize that unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and other health problems,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Simple steps such as using sunscreen, putting on sunglasses or wearing a hat can protect us and our families, while still enjoying the great outdoors,” according to a press release Tuesday, May 24, from the EPA.
One American dies from skin cancer every hour. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Skin cancer affects more than two million people each year, outnumbering the cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop the disease in their lifetime. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer.
Although skin cancer risk factors are always present even during the winter, the dangers are greater during the summer months, when the days are longer and more people are outside for longer periods of time. As millions of Americans kick off the summer season this Memorial Day weekend by enjoying the great outdoors, EPA encourages families to learn about sun-safe practices and to reduce overexposure to UV.
For “Don’t Fry Day,” (May 27 this year), EPA encourages Americans to take these few, easy precautions when they are outside:
· “Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap.” Slip on a shirt. Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen. Slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses to protect your body from overexposure to the sun.
· Seek shade. Find shade during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to reduce the risk of too much sun exposure.
· Check the UV Index. When planning outdoor activities, check the UV Index to identify the times that pose the greatest risk for overexposure to the sun.
EPA’s SunWise program is the nation’s largest environmental and health education program designed to encourage kids and their caregivers to practice safe sun habits.