This month is National Cancer Prevention Month and we here at Concho Valley ER wanted to bring some attention to the United States’ most common form of cancer: Skin Cancer. While skin cancer can come in different forms, it is best known in its deadliest variety, Melanoma. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one person dies from Melanoma every hour—that is a startling statistic!
It bears the question of how we can protect ourselves and our skin from Melanoma? There are many different risk factors associated with skin cancer, just like any form of cancer, but one thing that we can all do to reduce our risks of Melanoma is to avoid indoor tanning.
Why Indoor Tanning is Harmful
Indoor tanning exposes your body to ultraviolet rays (UV rays), just like the sun does outside. Only when you lay in tanning beds, you are being completely surrounded by these UV rays and often have a concentrated amount of UV on your body to produce quick, visible changes in skin tone. This exposure to UV rays is a known carcinogen (or, something which can increase the risk for cancer). It can cause your skin’s texture to change, age can accelerate your skin’s aging, and increase the risk of contracting Melanoma. Indoor tanning can even increase your risk of blinding eye diseases and cataracts if you are not properly protected.
The fact of the matter is that indoor tanning is not safe. Even with regulations and strict rules for operators of tanning salons, indoor tanning is not a safe way to “get some color” or absorb vitamin D.
The Numbers Behind Who is Tanning
The CDC has published findings of tanning in recent years, including who is indoor tanning, and how this can affect their health. About 7% of all high school students have had indoor tanning sessions, and that statistic jumps to 11% of high school girls, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
For young women, the percentages go up. According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, 32% of women aged 18-21 indoor tan. This is frightening when taking into consideration that, in a 2016 study, Dr. DeAnn Lazovich concluded that women under 30 who had indoor-tanned were 6 times more likely to be diagnosed with Melanoma.
With these kinds of numbers, young women who use indoor tanning are at heightened risk for Melanoma and other kinds of skin cancer. While there are stricter regulations about indoor tanning in some states, Texas included, these restrictions are not always enough to protect us from Melanoma.
While it is winter now, Concho Valley Emergency Center encourages everyone to think before you decide to go get your summer tan early. It might very well be better for your skin and your health if you choose not to.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Concho Valley Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.