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US Government dedicates day to skin cancer education

By Colin Ricketts - 23 May 2011 17:54:0 GMT
US Government dedicates day to skin cancer education

The increasing dangers of skin cancer will be highlighted by the US Government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a Don't Fry Day on Friday, May 27.

According to the EPA, melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, is increasing in frequency in the United States and is now the most common cancer suffered both by the general population and also by those aged 25 to 29.

The message of Don't Fry Day is that while an American dies of skin cancer every hour it is possible, with a few simple precautions, to enjoy the warmer summer weather safely.

''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. ''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 cases each year in the United States, more than two million, and now outnumber cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon combined. One in five Americans will develop the disease in their lifetime.

The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and the EPA has released advice and common sense guidelines on how to minimise your risks of developing skin cancer.

They are:

''Slip, Slip, Slap, Wrap.'' Slip on a shirt. Slop on SPF 15+ sunscreen. Slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses to protect your body from overexposure to the sun.

Look for shade during the hours of peak sunshine between 10am and 4pm.

Check the UV index to see when the greatest risk from the sun will be. You can find the forecast on the EPA UV Index site.

Avoid burning, which increases the risk of cancer. Even tanning increases your risk, whether from the Sun or artificial sources.

Use plenty of sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15.

Take more care close to water, sand and/or snow, which reflect UV radiation.

Sunlight gives us vitamin D, so make sure your diet includes enough.