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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 05/28/2010

Don't Fry Day: Today and every day

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We don't need to live in Arizona or Australia to be exposed to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, plenty of which can pass through even mostly cloudy skies. And we don't need to have experienced sunburn to get skin cancer.

The Friday before Memorial day is Don't Fry Day, a sun safety awareness campaign of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, there are more cases of skin cancer than colon, lung, breast and prostate cancers combined. According to the campaign, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.

Keep reading for more on the UV rays that cause sunburns and skin cancer...

Video courtesy of Earth Gauge.

UV radiation is a silent, invisible threat. Of the three types of UV rays -- UVA, UVB and UVC -- the first two pass through the atmosphere. Over time, UVA rays can cause skin damage like wrinkles and skin cancer. Tanning salons also use UVA rays.

While some UVB rays are absorbed by the Earth's protective ozone layer, many of them still pass through. They can cause sunburns, cataracts and skin cancer. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is caused by UVB sunburns that we experience before the age of 20.

Check the UV Index forecast for your Memorial Day weekend destination, and have fun in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Find other tips at

Other resources:
Cool in the Shade -- an excellent resource from Texas A&M University, including images of skin cancer, myths and facts and a test to see what your odds are for developing skin cancer
Worst sunburns ever photos
How to treat a sunburn
EPA Sunwise
Sunscreen Dance song for kids (i.e., "Sunscreen lotion, get the notion, Sunscreen lotion, it's a magic potion...")

By  |  11:30 AM ET, 05/28/2010

Categories:  Health, Health

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