Skin Cancer Foes Declare May 27 ‘Don’t Fry Day’ By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

Melanoma, the potentially deadly form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer among young adults in their late 20s, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, which joined forces to provide life-saving tips on sun safety. The main cause of skin cancer: overexposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

“Many people still do not realize that unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and other health problems,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in an agency news release. “Simple steps, such as using sunscreen, putting on sunglasses or wearing a hat, can protect us and our families, while still enjoying the great outdoors.”

Skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States, affects more than 2 million Americans each year — more than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined, the EPA said. Every hour, one American dies from skin cancer, the agency noted.

Although UV rays are dangerous year-round, the risks are greatest in the summer months when people spend more time outside, McCarthy said.

To limit exposure to harmful UV rays, experts suggest you:

  • Cover up. One of the most effective ways to reduce exposure to the sun’s harmful rays is to wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and SPF 15+ sunscreen.
  • Find a shady spot. It’s best to stay out of direct sunlight during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Be aware of the UV index. Before engaging in outdoor activities, check the UV index to identify the most risky times for overexposure to the sun.


Who can get skin cancer?

Anybody can get skin cancer.  People with African American decent have a smaller chance because of the make-up of their skin but everybody still is at-risk for getting it.  Even celebrities can get skin cancer, and they have.  The list of celebrities that have fought are are fighting skin cancer include: Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Bob Marley, John McCain, Eva Cassidy, Sam Donaldson, and Anderson Cooper.  Some of them have won, others have lost.  So if even celebrities can get skin cancer with all the money they have, wouldn’t you say that you have a shot at it too?  Be smart when in the sun.  Wear the right proper sun-protection and avoid being outside when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

Can tattoos really cause skin cancer?

There has been a long-standing debate about whether or not their is a link between tattoos and skin cancer.  On the side that argues that tattoos do not cause skin cancer, they use the fact that the number of skin cancer cases is low compared to the number of people who have tattoos.  On the side that argues that tattoos do in fact cause skin cancer, they say that any toxic carcinogens exposed to skin increases the chance of skin cancer.  So what of David Beckham?  Is he at an increased risk for skin cancer?  Or Angelina Jolie?  Is it worth it to get tattoos even if their link to skin cancer remains inconclusive?  What is the smart thing to do?

How much does skin cancer really cost?

In order to treat skin cancer, it is $665 per doctor visit multiplied by however many times that you go to the doctor.  Say if you go to the doctor every other month, it will cost you upwards of $4000 per year to treat skin cancer and skin cancer never goes away.  So how much is sunscreen anyway?  An average cost for an average-sized bottle of sunscreen is $11.  Even if you do use at least one bottle per month, costing $132 per year, that is only about 3.3% of what treatment of skin cancer would cost.  What would you rather choose?  $4000 or $132?  You be the judge.  Click here to find out more about the treatment of skin cancer.  And click here to find out how much other preventative cancers cost.


What sunscreen is best for me?

Everybody has different skin which means that everybody reacts differently to certain sunscreens.  Different types of skin is also why there are lotions and body washes for sensitive skin and not-so-sensitive skin.  People need to go through trial and error in order to choose the sunscreen that is best for them and their skin type.  You can go to to find out more.

Does a sun burn during childhood mean skin cancer as an adult?

According to most medical experts, being exposed to the sun as a child is an important risk factor for developing skin cancer as an adult.  Who is this information supposed to help?  It is intended to help parents and other child caregivers to be more aware of the importance of having their children wear sunscreen.  One study has even came to a conclusion that the number of sunburns in children has had a small reduction.  This means that parents have been doing their part in protecting their children from the sun.  Good job to the parents out there!

Is skin the only thing I need to worry about out in the sun?

In addition to protecting your skin from sun burn, you also need to protect your hair from sun damage.  One piece of advice for protecting hair, as well as taking advantage of the sun and its benefits on your hair, in the sun, is to start out with washing your hair with a good and safe shampoo.  After using the shampoo, apply conditioner and put your hair up in a ponytail or bun, but not a tight one.  After you go swimming, just wash out the conditioner with some more shampoo and you will have given yourself an inexpensive deep-conditioning treatment.  I mean, seriously, why not use the sun to our advantage for some awesome-looking hair.