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Friday is ‘Don’t Fry Day’ for Skin Cancer Awareness

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A coalition of federal agencies has declared the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage Americans to take a few simple steps to protect their health while outdoors.

The coalition said skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Each year there are more new cases than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

It noted that over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

“If current trends continue, one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, and many of these skin cancers could be prevented by reducing UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning devices,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Of particular concern is the increase we are seeing in rates of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer,” Frieden said. “In the United States, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among people ages 15 to 29 years.”

“Everyone can get sunburned and suffer harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation from time spent outdoors,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. “Consumers can protect themselves by choosing a sunscreen that is right for them, wearing protective clothing and limiting time in the sun.”

The FDA has issued new labeling rules for sunscreen products that require those that are not “broad spectrum” – effective against both ultraviolet A and B rays – and those with a sunscreen protection factor of less than 15 to carry a warning stating that they have not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.

In addition to using broad spectrum sunscreen, other tips to safely enjoy the outdoors safely this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer include:

  • Seek shade when the sun’s rays are strongest; avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and use extra caution near reflective surfaces like water and sand.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

 For more information on EPA sun safety tips visit http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise.

Besides the CDC and FDA, other members of the coalition are the US Environmental Protection Agency and National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.


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