FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
May 26, 2011 Contact: William Gerrish
Skin cancer is most common form of cancer in the United States
Hartford – In conjunction with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and other health organizations, the Department of Public Health (DPH) is recognizing the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.
“After a long, hard winter, many of us are looking forward to the coming warm days and sunshine,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “While you’re outside, it’s important that you take care to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Protecting your skin not only helps prevent skin damage, it also helps prevent skin cancer.”
As warm weather approaches and millions of Americans prepare to enjoy the great outdoors, the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage of the skin increases. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 68,000 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.
State health officials are encouraging Connecticut residents to protect their skin to help reduce rising rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the sun’s UV rays. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, DPH suggests following as many of the tips below as possible:
- Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning, and using tanning beds. Use sunless self-tanning products instead.
- Apply sunscreen generously (SPF 15 or higher is recommended)
- Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses
- Seek shade
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand due to reflection
- Get vitamin D safely through food and vitamin D supplements
Individuals with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, plenty of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well. To minimize the harmful effects of excessive and unprotected sun exposure, protection from intense UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone.
Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly and recognize changes in moles and skin growths.
For more information, visit the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention website at www.skincancerprevention.org or call (301) 801-4422.
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is a united voice to reduce skin cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality, through awareness, prevention, early detection, research, and advocacy.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.