Text Alternative for Don’t Fry: Preventing Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. More than 5.4 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.

New Skin Cancer Cases in the US in 2019

  • Skin Cancer (non-melanoma): 5,400,000
  • Female Breast Cancer: 268,600
  • Lung Cancer: 228,150
  • Prostate Cancer: 174,650
  • Colorectal Cancer: 145,600

Most Skin Cancers are Caused by the Sun’s UVA and UVB Ultraviolet (UV) Rays

UVA rays pierce the skin’s surface and travel through the epidermis and deep into the dermis, which can cause:

  • Dark patches
  • Wrinkles
  • Loose skin
  • Premature aging
  • DNA damage

UVB rays pierce the skin’s surface and travel into the epidermis, which can cause:

  • Eye problems
  • Sunburns
  • DNA damage

Both UVA and UVB rays cause DNA damage, which greatly increases skin cancer risk.

Anyone Can Get Skin Cancer

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 cancer.org/moles)

Protecting Yourself Is Vital

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

Sunscreen: How and Where to Apply

  • 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 underarms.
  • Reapply at least every two hours. Apply more often if you’re in and out of water or sweating.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself

In addition to sunscreen, don’t forget to:

  • Seek shade, especially from 10am – 4pm
  • Cover up with clothing
  • Ditch tanning beds or lamps
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear a hat
  • Cover up the kiddies, too! 

We’re Fighting Cancer on All Fronts

From helping patients access services such as free rides to treatment, free lodging near hospitals, and a 24/7 cancer helpline, to fostering cutting-edge research and breakthroughs, to advocating on behalf of cancer patients – the American Cancer Society is leading the fight.

Learn More // cancer.org/skincancer
Stay Protected // cancer.org/sunsafety
Detect It Early // cancer.org/skincancerimages
Donate // cancer.org/donate

The Friday before Memorial Day is Don’t Fry Day™.

©2019, American Cancer Society, Inc. No. 012882 Rev. 2/19 All rights reserved. The American Cancer Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.