The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day (May 25) as “Don’t Fry Day,” and FDA is participating in this national campaign to “spread the word” on sun safety.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, a nonprofit organization, announced that it designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” in order “to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Park Service (NPS) are also participating in this campaign to promote sun safety and prevent skin cancer.
About Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer
According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, “Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer.”
“This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.,” the National Council states on its website.
“Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation,” the National Council states, and the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage of the skin increases with exposure to the sun.
According to the FDA, “The need for sun safety has become clearer over the past 30 years. Studies show that exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. Harmful rays from the sun—and from sunlamps and tanning beds—may also cause eye problems, weaken your immune system, and give you skin spots, wrinkles, or ‘leathery’ skin.”
“Although we all need to take precautions to protect our skin,” the FDA says, “people who need to be especially careful in the sun are those who have:
- pale skin
- blond, red, or light brown hair
- been treated for skin cancer
- a family member who’s had skin cancer.”
“Individuals with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, plenty of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well,” according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.
The good news is that “skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented,” says the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.
Therefore, “To minimize the harmful effects of excessive and unprotected sun exposure, protection from intense UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone,” the organization urges.
How to Protect Yourself in the Sun and Avoid Overexposure to UV Radiation
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention offers the following tips on how to be safe in the sun and protect yourself and your family from overexposure to UV radiation:
- “Do Not Burn – Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
- Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds – Ultraviolet (UV) light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, use a sunless self-‐tanning product instead.
- Cover Up – Wear protective clothing, such as a long-‐sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-‐brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
- Seek Shade/Use Umbrellas – Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Generously Apply Sunscreen – Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 that provides broad-‐spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand – Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Check the UV Index – The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, you can find the UV Index for your area online at: www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.
- Get Vitamin D Safely – Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun or indoor tanning.”
The FDA adds a caution to protect your eyes from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, and recommends wearing sunglasses and checking to be sure that they offer protection against UV light. “When buying sunglasses, look for a label that specifically offers 99 to 100 percent UV protection,” the FDA counsels.
In addition, the FDA warns, “If you take medicines, ask your health care professional about sun-care precautions; some medications may increase sun sensitivity.”
“Don’t Fry Day” – Information & Resources on Sun Safety & Preventing Skin Cancer
From the FDA:
As part of this national campaign for sun safety and prevention of skin cancer, the FDA posted a webpage on Friday, May 18 on Sun Safety: Save Your Skin!
The site offers tips on sun safety, and links to related Consumer Updates.
The FDA also provides this video with tips on Sun Safety to prevent skin cancer:
From the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention provides resources for Don’t Fry Day on its website.
These include links to background information, brochures, and tips on how to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation and prevent skin cancer. They also include downloadable PDF documents on:
- A Sun Safety Vacation Packing List
- Sunburn Questions and Answers
- Protecting Your Eyes from UV Radiation; and
- Skin Cancer Facts with Statistics
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
The EPA provided a SunWise website with information and resources for consumers on sun safety, and skin cancer prevention.
It offers tips on How to be SunWise, including links to:
- Action steps for sun safety
- UV Index forecast
- Skin cancer facts for your state
- Don’t Fry Day
- Related links
The EPA’s SunWise website also provides other resources focusing on sun safety for children.
From the National Park Service, USDA, and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):
The National Park Service, one of the co-sponsors of Don’t Fry Day, offers resources on For Your Safety: Protect Yourself from the Sun, especially relating to Fire Island National Park (which includes a beach), as well as a video on Sun Safety in Our National Parks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on Sun Safety including brochures on Sun Safety (from APHIS), Sun Health: Enjoy the Sun with Care (from the Human Resources Division of USDA), and Protecting Yourself in the Sun (from OSHA).
See related HelpingYouCare™ reports on:
Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection (information from the American Cancer Society)
- News on Skin Cancers;
- What are the types; Causes;
- Symptoms & Diagnosis;
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