We’ve all seen the ads promoting skin cancer awareness. By now most everyone knows that skin cancer is dangerously easy to be diagnosed with. It’s hard not to be at risk when one of the main factors in the development of melanoma and metastasis is ultra-violet light. Sounds easy right? Stay out of ultra-violet light and your safe? Much easier said than done, as ultra-violet light is what lights your entire environment for up to 12 hours a day. That’s right, the sun is, I’m sure, unintentionally signing you up for future rounds of chemotherapy if you’re not safe.
Of course the sun is not the only mass producer of UV light, a number of melanoma patients are in some way or another linked with indoor tanning. This can be defined by tanning beds, uv-lamps, or any other term relative to using a sun-substitute. It seems to be illogical to think that anything used to copy the sun’s purpose would not also give you the same dangers.
In a recent report to JAMA Internal Medicine Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD outlined the use of indoor tanning amongst Caucasian high school females and women between the ages of 18 & 24-years-old. At the time of the report, no current information on the demographic was available, so data from the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior survey and the 2010 National Health Survey was used.
Figures were quite high compared to what you would expect from a well-informed population. The younger group, being in high school and susceptible to peer pressure of all varieties, recorded that 29.3 percent of the white population tanned indoors. Only 16.7 percent responded as being a frequent user of indoor lamp tanning.
The sun may not be trying to sign that check to your doctor for chemo for all of the people at risk of melanoma after all. When the group of women ages 18-34 participated in the survey, 24.9 percent admitted to utilizing artificial tanning facilities. As far as frequent tanners, the number drops to 15.1 percent.
The high school category seemed to have figures of the frequency of their tanning increase with age, as the 18-34 group had decreased. So after time, did the look become dull and boring, or did health factors finally start impacting women of an older age? Of course advertisers would like to think the latter. As the younger group became more frequently using uv-light in tanning beds increased, I would say not.
Most of the ads you see that involve skin cancer tells you to put sunscreen on, shows pictures of a young girl in a tanning bed saying the scene is dangerous, and/or a list of other things that we see and hear so regularly that we don’t even process them. They are images we’ve seen so often, that by the picture at the top of this article, you probably knew you’d be hearing about how bad indoor tanning is.
Most cases of melanoma are in older people, and right now men are increasingly becoming diagnosed, especially those being over 50. The American Suntanning Association stands by their thinking of instead of associating these campaigns at youth women, that all ages should be properly taught about protecting you and your skin from the sun as well. Though the sun may take a while, it still shows big risk of signing off on your skin’s bill of health. Always remember sunscreen and to cover up when in the sun for long periods of time.
By: Jodi Phillips