Skin cancer remains the most common cancer in America, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a release on Monday.
The EPA is joining with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to declare Friday, May 24, 2013 as “Don’t Fry Day.” The agencies are encouraging Americans to take simple steps to prevent skin cancer throughout the summer.
The CDC lists Colorado among the states with the highest melanoma death rates – along with Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon and West Virginia.
In Colorado, melanoma is the fifth most common diagnosed cancer in the state. Between 2002 to 2006, the annual rate for new melanoma cases in Colorado was 15 percent higher than the national average, the EPA said.
To stay safe, the agencies recommend that people:
· Seek shade, not sun, when the sun’s rays are strongest and avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and use of tanning beds.
· Use extra caution near reflective surfaces like water and sand.
· Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
· Check the UV Index – an hourly forecast of UV radiation that helps plan outdoor activities to prevent overexposure to the sun. The EPA’s free app may be downloaded at www.epa.gov/enviro/mobile.
· Wear sunscreen that follows new EPA guidelines.
The EPA has issued new rules for labeling of sunscreen products. The guidelines allow sunscreens proven to protect against both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays to be labeled “broad spectrum.” Such products, with an SPF of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used as directed.
Products that fail to protect against UVA and UVB or with a lower SPF must carry a warning that they don’t reduce skin cancer.
“While we’re making progress toward restoring the Earth’s ozone layer, Americans need to take steps now for extra protection from harmful UV rays and skin cancer,” said Janet McCabe, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s office of air and radiation.
The groups encourage people to protect themselves by choosing a sunscreen that is right for them, wearing protective clothing and limiting sun exposure.
“If current trends continue, one in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “These skin cancers could be prevented by reducing UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning devices.”