Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation, with almost 5.5 million cases diagnosed in Americans each year – more than breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers combined. In fact, one out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Invasive melanoma accounts for about 1% of all skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
“Don’t Fry Day is the perfect way to jump start the summer,” said UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Physician-in-Chief Richard Bold. “It is especially important to protect children from the harmful effects of the sun because sunburns during childhood increase the risk of getting skin cancer later in life.”
Skin cancer is highly preventable. Over 90% of all skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices.
Americans can dramatically reduce their risk of skin cancer by:
- Not burning or tanning intentionally
- Generously applying sunscreen (remember to reapply every two hours)
- Use SPF 30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen (the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!)
- Wearing sun-protective clothing (i.e., wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves)
- Seeking shade during peak times of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
- Using extra caution near water and sand
- Bonus: wear a facial covering to stay protected from COVID-19 AND the sun!
“Don’t Fry Day,” now in its thirteenth year, is a public awareness campaign that aims to reduce the number of new skin cancer diagnoses by promoting sun safety and encouraging people to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.
“Sunburns represent skin damage,” said Bold. “No tan is a safe tan.”
The best way to detect skin cancer early is to be aware of new or changing skin spots or growths, particularly those that look unusual. Any new or changing spots (size, shape, color, new bleeding, etc.), should be evaluated by a doctor.
According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing melanoma is 1 in 1,000 for Blacks, 1 in 167 for Latinos, and 1 in 38 for whites. While the chance of developing melanoma is highest among whites, melanoma does occur across all races. The idea that Blacks or Latinos do not get melanoma is a myth – and stands in the way of raising awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers.
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 15,000 adults and children every year and access to more than 150 active clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 225 scientists at UC Davis who work collaboratively to advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Patients have access to leading-edge care, including immunotherapy and other targeted treatments. Its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement addresses disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations, and the cancer center provides comprehensive education and workforce development programs for the next generation of clinicians and scientists. For more information, visit cancer.ucdavis.edu.