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ACS cautions Americans to practice sun safety as stay-at-home orders are lifted

​As states begin opening beaches, parks, and public areas, the American Cancer Society wants to remind people that sun safety remains as important as ever.

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, at ACS. “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 apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a 30 sun protection factor (SPF), and 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.
  • Using extra caution near water, snow, and sand, all of which reflect the sun's rays

For more information about skin cancer and what you can do to lower your risk, visit

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