Start off your Memorial Day weekend the right way by protecting your skin.

On Friday, May 24, the Rapides Cancer Center – along with the American Cancer Society –  will recognize “Don’t Fry Day.”

“‘Don’t Fry Day’ is designed to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and to encourage everyone to protect their skin as they kick off the summer season with Memorial Day weekend,” said Karen Z. Hathorn, RN, MSN, Director of Oncology Services. “It makes sense that Rapides Cancer Center be part of that effort.”

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed each year, while more than 75,000 people develop melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.

And though the statistics are sobering, skin cancer is actually one of the most preventable forms of cancer. 

“There are four key ways we can protect ourselves from UV radiation – slip on a shirt, spread on some sunscreen, put on a hat and wear sunglasses that protect your eyes and the skin around them from ultraviolet light,” Hathorn said. 

To help spread the word, Rapides Regional Medical Center community education nurses and employees from the Rapides Cancer Center, will hand out sun-safety tips – and give you a chance to win a free “Fun Sun Safety” basket – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rapides Regional Medical Center on Friday, May 24 in the main hallway near The Gift Shop.

Did you know?

  • Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States.
  • There are many ways to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation, including seeking shade when you can, wearing protective clothing, generously applying sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), and avoiding intentional tanning or burning.
  • Use the UV Index forecast to help protect yourself from harmful UV exposure. (A higher UV Index on a scale from 1 to 11+ means more skin-damaging UV radiation is reaching the earth.)
  • Limit the amount of time spent in direct sun when the sun’s rays are most intense, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing when out in the sun, including long sleeves; sunglasses; and a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears.
  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher on all skin that isn’t covered.
  • Protect skin even on cool or cloudy days.

“We know it’s not possible, or practical, to avoid sunlight completely – and some sunlight is good for your health, but by following these steps can help protect your skin from the damage that leads to cancer, or help you find skin cancer early so that it can be treated effectively,” Hathorn said.

To find out more about “Don’t Fry Day” and other sun safety guidelines, please visit