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Why “Don’t Fry Day” Isn’t Just Another Friday

2009 May 19

Go to EPA's Science Month pageAbout the author: A skin cancer survivor, Stephene Moore is the wife of Congressman Dennis Moore and a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program. She has been helping EPA’s SunWise Program since 2006. As part of this year’s Don’t Fry Day campaign, sponsored by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, EPA asked her to share her personal experience with skin cancer as a guest blogger on Greenversations. The Friday before Memorial Day is Don’t Fry Day.

image of author in radio studio
Stephene Moore, hours after Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer above her lip, giving a radio interview.

With Don’t Fry Day just three days away, it’s important to remember to Slip on a shirt! Slop on some sunscreen! Slap on a hat! ® and Wrap on some sunglasses today and every day. I’ve learned the importance of being smart in the sun the hard way.

As a teen, I used to cover myself in baby oil that we girls all added iodine to, and sit out in the sun by the pool or in the backyard. As an adult, I even hopped into a tanning bed once in awhile to get a “safe tan” so I wouldn’t burn on a beach vacation! Little did I know at the time that there’s no such thing as a “safe tan,” unless it comes from a bottle.

My sun-seeking and tanning caught up with me in November, 2007. I was taking off my makeup and noticed a tiny black spot that I couldn’t wipe off. I waited a month before visiting my dermatologist in the hopes it would go away. When it didn’t, I set up an appointment. Just a few days after the doctor biopsied the spot on my nose, a nurse called with the results: it was skin cancer!

A small pit in my stomach began to form after hearing the “C” word: cancer. Hearing the word “cancer” used in the same sentence as my own name is a little unsettling. Luckily, the cancer I had was very treatable. I’ll never be able to say I’m cancer-free, but after three surgeries, the doctor was able to remove all the cancer they could find. The experience has left a lasting impression—literally and figuratively.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are responsible for most skin cancers. UV reaches the Earth’s surface in two forms: UVA and UVB. UVA is associated with premature aging and wrinkling of the skin. UVB, which is associated with sunburn, is mostly blocked by the ozone layer. Unfortunately, the ozone layer isn’t perfect. While on behalf of the United States, EPA works with 194 other countries to heal the ozone layer, it’s more important than ever to be smart in the sun.

To protect my skin and eyes, I wear a hat and sunglasses, and keep extra sunscreen all over the house and in the car, so I remember to put it on year round. I’ll never know which day by the pool or trip to the tanning bed gave me cancer, but please learn from my mistakes and remember to Slip! Slop! Slap! ® and Wrap! each time you spend time outside.

For more sun safety tips from the SunWise Program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Matthew McDonald permalink
    August 24, 2009

    Thanks, this is great information. You know, things are not as they use to be. These days you have to so so careful with looking after your skin. You over there in the States are becoming more aware of this, which is good for the rest of us. I am from Australia, and we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. This issue needs to be taken seriously.

  2. Kent Davis permalink
    December 15, 2009

    I understand the “pit in my stomach” when you find out you have skin cancer. I’ve had Basal Cell cancer three times on my nose and had the Mohs surgery twice. At least with the Mohs surgery you can be about 99% sure that the skin cancer has been removed from that spot. But it can and usually will show up in other areas, as it has in my case. The last time I had Basal Cell they had to remove almost half of my nose requiring a cosmetic surgery procedure called a forehead flap. I’ve detailed the whole experience on my website:

    I hadn’t heard of the “Don’t Fry Day” before, that’s a great idea. I’ve put the logo and link on my site. Also it is nice to see a government agency like the EPA being proactive about the dangers of skin cancer with the SunWise program.

  3. Max permalink
    December 16, 2009

    It is good that you have found it so soon that prevent it from spreading. I agree with you people should always remember to apply sun screen or protective gear from the exposure of the sun because it is not so safe anymore not like before that we are the cause of this damage. We just hope and pray that there will be a solution to our ozone layer. Thanks for the info.

  4. Mike Jones permalink
    December 17, 2009

    I agree 100% as I am getting my MBA in Australia. I am always going to the beach on the weekends and always make sure to tell my girlfriend to put heavy sun screen on as she use to never put it on as she wanted to get that perfect tan. I am going to show this article with her. Thanks!

  5. Jeni CTS Wholesale Sunglasses permalink
    April 24, 2010

    Great article! Thanks for sharing the tips to prevent skin cancer. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV radiations. When buying a pair of sunglasses give primary importance to quality of lens.


  6. Audrey_under_the_Sun permalink
    October 22, 2010

    Aside from protecting the eyes from UV rays, sunglasses keeps us from squinting leading to wrinkles in our forehead and at the corners of our eyes… :)

  7. Jesse S. Sallak permalink
    December 18, 2014


    It’s been a few years and I was curious how your skin cancer has been since your surgery.

    Little chuckle – “Safe tan in the tanning bed” and “baby oil with iodine”….

    Jesse Sallak

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