May 24 is National Don’t Fry Day: The Friday before Memorial Day Weekend has been designated as a day to raise awareness of the risks of getting too much sun.

May is designated as Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Melanoma Monday falls on May 6th, and National Sunscreen Day is observed on May 27th.

An estimated 5 million people receive a skin cancer diagnosis each year. The most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, has a higher propensity to spread to other body regions. Skin cancer is almost always treatable if caught early. Check for any growths, moles, or any dark patches or spots on your skin.

Did you know that North Dakota has a skin cancer rate that is HIGHER than the national average?

The weather is warming up and we're spending more time outdoors. Picnics, outdoor sports, the pool, the beach, relaxing with a drink in your hand and the breeze in your hair — sound cool?

It sure is! What isn’t cool is skin and eye damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s U.V. rays. I cringe each time I see someone post a photo online of their sunburn. A sunburn is dangerous and it's totally avoidable.

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So, what can be done to stop skin cancer? We need to protect our skin in ALL seasons. Getting a “tan” whether outdoors or from a tanning bed is not healthy. We do not need a lot of sun exposure. Self-tanning lotions are considered safe.

The North Dakota Cancer Coalition offers the following advice that might be useful:

1) Wear a water resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days. Every two hours, reapply sunscreen.
2) Cover up with protective clothing
3) Wear a broad-rimmed hat that covers your ears and your neck
4) Avoid Tanning Beds
5) Know Your Risk. Depending on your sensitivity to the sun, you could have a higher risk.

Additionally, because US drivers sit on the left side of the car, skin cancers are more common on the left side of the body due to the sun exposure coming through the windows. So it's important to apply sunscreen before driving. Talk with a dermatologist for specific product recommendations.

Because Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer it's important to know our skin "A, B, C, D and E's".

According to skin experts, these are the warning signs of potential skin cancer.

Asymmetry – The halves do not match.
Borders – Uneven, scalloped or notched.
Color – Variety of colors including brown, tan, black, red and/or blue.
Diameter – Usually larger than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch).
Evolving – Look for changes in size, shape, color, elevation or symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting.

Check out the variety of sun safety resources from the North Dakota Cancer Coalition (search online for “ND Cancer Coalition Skin Cancer”).

LOOK: Where people in South Dakota are moving to most

Stacker compiled a list of states where people from South Dakota are moving to the most using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Gallery Credit: Stacker








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