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Cancer Risk and Prevention

Text Alternative for Don’t Fry: Preventing Skin Cancer

 Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. More than 5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than all other cancers combined. Skin cancer rates have been on the rise over the past few decades. The good news is that you can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer.

​UV rays from the sun cause DNA damage, leading to skin cancer and aging.

  • DNA damage - UVA and UVB rays cause DNA damage, which greatly increases skin cancer risk.
  • Dark patches
  • Wrinkles
  • Loose skin
  • Premature aging
  • Sunburns
  • Eye problems

​Anyone Can Get Skin Cancer, but be extra careful if you:

  • Have natural blonde or red hair
  • Have freckles
  • Are fair skinned
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Have had skin cancer before
  • Live in or travel to tropical climates or high altitudes
  • Take medications that make you sensitive to light
  • Have had a lot of sunburns and burn before tanning
  • Have a condition that lowers your immune system
  • Have a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma
  • Have a lot of moles, or large or irregularly shaped moles (see

​Protect your skin year-round

UV rays are around all the time, no matter what the season

Seek shade (especially 10 am – 4 pm)

  • Cover up with clothing
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear a hat
  • Don’t use tanning beds or lamps

​Use sunscreen

​What to look for

  • Broad Spectrum – Protects against both UVA and UVB rays
  • SPF 30…at least! SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • Expiration Date – Sunscreen lasts two to three years, so check the date
  • Lip balm with an SPF of at least 30

How to apply it

  • Be generous! One ounce (about a palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face.
  • Don’t forget your ears, hands, feet and under sides of your arms.

​Cover up the kiddies, too!

Kids burn more easily. And babies younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Together, we are stronger than cancer.

The American Cancer Society is fighting cancer on all fronts. Our mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

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©2021, American Cancer Society, Inc. No. 012882-Rev. 5/21

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