We are also hearing and seeing with our own eyes an increase in the rate of melanoma in young people who go to tanning beds regularly, mainly young women.
Indoor tanning has been associated with a 75% increase in melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most common form of cancer for 25-29 year olds and the second most common form of cancer in 15-19 year olds. About 70% of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women aged 16-29 years old, the same exact group where melanoma is increasing dramatically.
The rate of new melanoma cases in younger women increased 50% from 1980 to 2004, but there was no corresponding increase in young men.
Many states are enacting tougher tanning laws. For example, Georgia passed a law stating that minors under the age of 14 will be forbidden to use tanning facilities and those aged 14-18 will be required to have parental consent to tan indoors.
In a case-controlled study from the University of Minnesota, the authors found that frequent indoor tanning increased the risk of melanoma regardless of the age when indoor tanning began.
The lesson from all these findings is pretty obvious. Cover up with shirts and hats when you must be in the sun, wear high strength sunscreens and DO NOT TAN!
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