May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared the Friday before Memorial Day, May 27, 2016, “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness.
Why? Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, when many will head outdoors, so it’s important to avoid overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed and 2.2 million people treated in the U.S. every year, according to the Council, which adds that cases of melanoma continue to rise at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer and this year predicts more than 73,870 new cases of malignant melanoma as well as two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.
Fair-skinned people are more susceptible to skin cancer, although people of all races can be at risk. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, lots of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk, warns the Council.
Skin cancer is highly curable if found early. The Council encourages sunseekers to Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap when outdoors — slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap on sunglasses. Don’t forget to examine your skin regularly and recognize changes in moles and skin growths.