The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as Don’t Fry Day, an annual effort to raise awareness about skin cancer prevention. As the unofficial kick-off to our summer season, Mercy Cancer Center is encouraging everyone to use this day to increase awareness about skin cancer and to adopt some safe prevention practices. Make this a safe summer in the sun for you and your family! #dontfryday
Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Although people with lighter skin tones are at greater risk, people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are susceptible.
There are three major types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma – most common skin cancer usually appearing on face and ears. It is slow growing and does not usually spread to distant parts of the body. It is highly curable but can cause considerable disfigurement if left untreated.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – is the 2nd most common type and usually appears on sun-exposed parts of the body. It is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma and more likely to spread. It can cause death.
Melanoma – the least common but most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is likely to spread in the body and therefore it is important to diagnose and treat this disease at an early stage. In the U.S., about one person per hour dies from this often deadly but preventable skin cancer.
Protection is Key to Prevention
So how do you protect yourself? The vast majority of skin cancer is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun which is also the same ultraviolet radiation found in tanning beds. Research also shows that a few severe sunburns during childhood or adolescence doubles the risk of developing melanoma. Hence, good common sense is your best protection!
Protect yourself and your children by following these practices:
Do not burn – Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. Generously apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15-30. Re-apply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing – Long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection are great choices.
Seek shade – Limit the amount of time you spend in direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
Use extra caution – Be extra careful around water, snow, sand and concrete, which reflect UV rays and increase your chance of sunburn.
Send sunscreen with children – Make sure your children take sunscreen to school and camp and encourage them to use it!
Remember – Follow these suggestions even on cloudy days and in every season of the year.
So get out there and celebrate No Fry Day! Follow these tips to get you and your family off to a wonderfully safe and fun-filled summer. And remember, if you have any questions or need more information, call your friends in Mercy Cancer Center at 330-430-2788.