In the United States, Skin Cancer Awareness Month is usually celebrated during the month of May. And in that month, one day is designated as Don't Fry Day as a reference to avoidance of frying in the sun, which is the best form of protection that anybody can have against skin cancer.
And yes, that includes frying in tanning beds.
So, why do we celebrate Skin Cancer Awareness Month?
Well, the statistics are sufficient reason to do so with the ostensible aim of educating our fellow men and women about the dangers of baking in the sun and in the tanning bed just to have the perfect shade of brown.
Of course, this is a callout to all sun-lovers out there.
In many countries of the world particularly Australia, New Zealand and the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer with millions diagnosed every year.
We are talking of every type of skin cancer here from the relatively mild basal cell carcinoma to the deadly malignant melanoma.
Then add in the fact that skin cancer takes more victims than all the new cases for cancers of the lung, prostate and breast combined on an annual basis.
It has something to do with our general attitude that tanning is good but being as pale as Dracula is for the birds. The bad news does not end there.
Did you know that melanoma, which just so happens to be the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the ninth leading cause of cancer death in the United States?
Yes, scary indeed.
Still, there is good news to be had despite these grim statistics that are brandished about during Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
The good news is that skin cancer is actually very preventable in most instances. Just how preventable, you ask?
Let's turn to the statistics again.
Approximately 90 percent of non-melanoma types of skin cancer are strongly linked to exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation ( UV rays ). Even melanoma is linked to the sin of loving the sun too much.
And so the logical thing to do is to avoid the sun at all times, right?
Well, not really as that would make you a heliophobic getting zero natural vitamin D from the sun. It just so happens that vitamin D is necessary for your biological processes, too, but that's another story.
Instead, what you should do is to protect yourself against the damaging effects of the sun's rays.
We are not referring to skin cancer only since overexposure to the sun also results to faster signs of skin aging - fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, if you must know.
And by protection we mean:
*Macular degeneration is a possibility with inadequate eye protection, and eating your fruits and vegetables like your mother told you to in your younger years.
All these uv protection measures must be adopted the whole year long. Do not wait for Skin Cancer Awareness Month to remind you of the imperative necessity to protect yourself against a disease that is almost completely preventable.