Press Releases

American Cancer Society Cautions Americans to Practice Sun Safety Even as Stay-At-Home Orders Are Lifted
May 20, 2020
Friday before Memorial Day is “Don’t Fry Day”

As states begin opening beaches, parks, and public areas, “Don’t Fry Day,”  the Friday before Memorial Day, is an opportunity to remind people that sun safety remains important. To help address the rising rates of skin cancer in the United States, the American Cancer Society has partnered with the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and its broad coalition of member organizations to designate the Friday before Memorial Day as the 12th annual “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness while enjoying the outdoors. This year’s campaign is “Because Sun Safety Looks Good on You.”

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, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Melanoma accounts for about 1% of all skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.

“COVID-19 has forced Americans to remain indoors, and many people are anxious to get back to outdoor activities with some stay-at-home orders being lifted,” said Laura Makaroff, DO, senior vice president, prevention and early detection, American Cancer Society. “As more people get outside, practicing social distancing and avoiding crowded areas is still very important to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, and it is also important to not forget the risks of sun exposure and sunburn and take appropriate steps to protect your skin.”

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 – no tan is a safe tan;
  • Generously applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 sun protection factor (SPF) (remember to reapply every two hours);
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing and broad-brimmed hats.;
  • Seeking shade during peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and
  • Using extra caution near water, snow and sand.

“As we get ready to kick off the summer with Memorial Day Weekend, it’s more important than ever to be sun safe and practice social distancing. Everyone can do it by applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and throwing on a wide-brimmed hat while maintaining a safe distance from others when you go outside,” says John D. Antonishak, executive director of the National Council for Skin Cancer Prevention. “This years’ Don’t Fry Day is a reminder that you can still enjoy the outdoors while protecting yourself and those around you from skin cancer and COVID-19.”