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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Skin Cancer and EPA's Tips to Avoid It: "Don't Fry Day"

By Susie Censativ

As the seasons change and the weather warms, Americans find themselves spending more time outdoors under the glaring rays of the sun. While African Americans have a lower risk for skin cancer caused by the
sunshine, it is significant to know that they are also at risk. Generally, people with dark skin pigmentation have greater protection against UV radiation. However, the best way for everyone, including African Americans, to reduce the risk of skin cancer is to protect your skin and eyes from the sun by using sunscreen, wearing shirts, wide- brimmed hats , and sunglasses when outdoors.  Of course, African Americans do not generally 'sun bathe' at the beach.

EPA is designating the Friday before Memorial Day is “Don’t Fry Day.” It is the perfect time for EPA to remind all Americans, at the start of summer, about the dangers of exposure to the sun and to offer safety tips to guard against harmful UV 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.  One American dies from skin cancer every hour. It is the most common type of cancer in the United States, where 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. Over exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer.

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.

More information on “Don’t Fry Day” and additional sun safety resources (EPA)
Link to this article