As we all look forward to a sunny forecast this coming holiday weekend, the American Cancer Society is reminding everyone to remember sunscreen.
Skin cancer has become an epidemic in the U.S. with more than one million new skin cancers diagnosed every year.
Get your sunscreen ready because today is Don't Fry Day.
The American Cancer Society, along with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, reminds residents to protect their skin as you head outdoors to kick off the summer season.
Be sure to use plenty of sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), wear clothing that limits the amount of skin exposed, cover your head with a hat, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
While late spring usually means a rush to get a tan for high school prom, graduation or simply to prepare for the beach, the serious threat of skin cancer should not be ignored.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.
In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, many of the more than 2 million cases that are diagnosed annually could be prevented by protection from the sun's rays and avoiding indoor tanning.
How do you prevent skin cancer? The American Cancer Society's awareness campaign for skin cancer prevention promotes the slogan "Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap," which is a catch phrase that reminds people of the four key ways they can protect themselves from UV radiation:
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
- Slap on a hat
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and sensitive skin around them from ultraviolet light.
Pay attention to your time spent in those UV rays - stay out of the sun during peak times (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and remember that a nice tan is never worth risking your life.
Experts also advise:
- Avoid peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.
- Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, especially when playing sports, swimming, gardening or doing any other outdoor activities. Cloudy days are no exception. Sunscreens should not be used to increase the time spent in intense sunlight.
- Avoid reflective surfaces, which can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun's damaging rays.
- No shadow, seek the shade. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the damaging rays of the sun are at their strongest, and you're likely to get sunburn.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be deadly.
Remember to look for any suspicious or unusual moles using the American Cancer Society's ABCD rule:
Asymmetry-one half of the mole does not match the other.
Border-edges of the mole are irregular (blurred, ragged).
Color-color is not uniform and may have patches of pink, red, white or black.
Diameter-melanoma moles are usually larger than 1/4 inch, but this is not always the case.
"I strongly encourage people to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Michigan weather this summer, but it's critical that we all take the necessary precautions to avoid too much sun exposure without proper protection," said Lori Eastman, manager of Health Initiatives for the American Cancer Society. "There are plenty of ways to enjoy the sun without putting yourself at greater risk for skin cancer."
If you find a suspicious mole, talk to your doctor. Nothing increases cancer survival rates more than early detection, and nothing lowers cancer rates more than prevention. This May, stay safe in the sun.
For more information on skin cancer detection or prevention, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.