DALLAS -- Every hour, one American dies from skin cancer – the number one cancer in the U.S. To help people learn easy ways to combat the disease, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SunWise program has partnered with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to designate the Friday before Memorial Day (May 27) as “Don’t Fry Day.” EPA encourages New Mexico residents to learn about and practice sun-safe behaviors this Don’t Fry Day to reduce overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation – the main cause of skin cancer.
“This is the perfect time of year to remind people to protect themselves and their family members from too much sun by taking simple steps like putting on sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a t-shirt,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. 'Teaching sun safety is crucial because nearly half of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States each year are skin cancers.'
Each Memorial Day weekend, millions of Americans kick off the summer season and begin enjoying the great outdoors. The rate of new melanoma diagnoses has more than doubled in New Mexico between 1975 and 2007. Though skin cancer risks exist all year long, the dangers are even greater during the summer months, when the days are longer, and more people are outside for longer periods of time.
For “Don’t Fry Day,” EPA encourages New Mexico residents to practice the Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap safety tips, which include:
- Slip on a shirt, preferably with sleeves;
- Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen generously;
- Slap on a hat; and
- Wrap on sunglasses.
SunWise also recommends that families seek shade during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Checking the UV Index to plan outdoor activities is also key for identifying times that pose the greatest risk for overexposure to the sun.
In the U.S., 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. Meanwhile, melanoma—the most serious form of skin cancer— is on the rise. It is the most common cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29.
For more on “Don’t Fry Day” and additional sun safety resources, including a sun safety packing list and new public service announcements created by kids in K-8, go to: http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/dfd.html .
EPA’s SunWise program is a national environmental and health education program that teaches children and their caregivers how to be safe in the sun through the use of classroom, school and community-based components. To learn more about free SunWise resources, download the UV Index widget or smart phone application, or sign up to receive daily UV Index forecasts, visit www.epa.gov/sunwise .