To encourage sun safety awareness and remind everyone to protect their skin while outdoors, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared May 25 — the Friday before Memorial Day — as “Don’t Fry Day.”
Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States due to overexposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun. The American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, ACS 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.
“Farmers and ranchers are fortunate to be able to spend much of their working lives outdoors,” said Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “The downside of prolonged exposure to the sun while on the farm or ranch is that it can lead to skin damage and cancer.”
In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, outdoor workers experience twice the amount of nonmelanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas) compared to those who work indoors.
Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, the council recommends the following: do not burn or tan; seek shade often, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; wear sun-protective clothing; generously apply sunscreen; use extra caution near water, snow and sand; and get Vitamin D safely.
Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. 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, numerous moles or freckles or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well. 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 best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly for changes in moles and skin growths; schedule a visit with your doctor if you notice any change.