PRESS RELEASE: Americans Reminded to Enjoy the Sun Safely this Summer. The Friday before Memorial Day Declared “Don’t Fry Day” to Turn Tide against Skin Cancer

Release Date:
Thu, 05/23/2019
Americans Reminded to Enjoy the Sun Safely this Summer

Friday before Memorial Day Declared “Don’t Fry Day” to Turn Tide against Skin Cancer

Washington, D.C. – May 24, 2019 – To turn the tide against rising rates of skin cancer in the United States, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention – and its broad national member coalition of over 45 organizations – has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as the 11th annual “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.

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 skin cancer at some time in their lives.

Skin cancer is the most preventable cancer. Over 90% of all skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices. Sunscreens play a role in reducing skin cancer risk and preventing premature aging of the skin, but they are not the only or even the most important factor. Americans can dramatically reduce their risk of skin cancer by:

  • Not burning or tanning intentionally – there is no such thing as a safe tan;
  • Seeking shade during peak times of the day;
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Generously applying sunscreen (remember to reapply every two hours); and
  • Using extra caution near water, snow, and sand.

Recent studies have raised environmental and safety concerns about chemical sunscreen ingredients. These sunscreen ingredients have been used for several decades without any reported internal side effects in humans. However, people who are concerned about these ingredients can choose products with the mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

“As we kick start the summer with Memorial Day Weekend, many Americans will start spending more time outdoors and subsequently increase their exposure to ultraviolet rays and risks for skin cancer,” said Carolyn Heckman, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Chair of the Don’t Fry Day campaign. “Don’t Fry Day is a reminder that you can still enjoy the outdoors while protecting yourself and those around you from skin cancer.”

About Don’t Fry Day: “Don’t Fry Day,” now in its eleventh 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. Learn more at

Protect children from UV rays:

Children need special attention. They tend to spend more time outdoors, can burn more easily, and may not be aware of the dangers of UV exposure compared to adults. Parents and other caregivers should protect children from excess sun exposure by using the steps above. Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun using hats and protective clothing.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer and help raise awareness, visit Follow the National Council on Facebook (, Instagram (@SkinCancerPrev), and Twitter (@SkinCancerPrev).

About the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention: The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is the united voice of more than 45 organizations, associations and agencies dedicated to prevent skin cancer through education, advocacy, and raising awareness. National Council members represent the nation’s premiere physicians, researchers, clinicians and advocates for skin cancer prevention. Learn more at