It’s That Season Once Again…Skin Cancer Season.

May has been dubbed National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention month and I, for one, on a very personal note think this is a truly important thing to be aware of. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

In 2007 (the most recent year numbers are available)—

  • 58,094 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin, including 33,041 men and 25,053 women.*†
  • 8,461 people in the United States died from melanomas of the skin, including 5,506 men and 2,955 women.*†

*Incidence counts cover approximately 99% of the U.S. population. Death counts cover 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.†Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2007 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at:

(Those figures include all causes of skin cancer including those that laid in tanning beds)

Not great news for the tanning bed industry and not that great of news for people addicted to tanning beds.

Speaking of not great news for the tanning bed industry:

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(Obviously not just not a result of tanning but that bronzing product that weight lifters use on their bodies before competition.)

A study published in 2009 in the Lancet Oncology medical publication showed that “skin cancer jumps by 75% when people start using tanning beds before age 30”.

Some more alarming bits from the report  states that tanning bed use of ultraviolet radiation puts them into the top cancer risk category deeming them “as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas.” Tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus and chimney sweeping, among others.”

Those words, to me, seem as concerning as the words on the side of the cancer sticks we call cigarettes, yet we see kids in their teens tanning on the same tanning  package as their mother. (The same mother, who most likely, would not allow her daughter to smoke a “ciggy” before going in to tan with her.)

Most of us like to look tan and healthy. For some reason, that is synonymous with each other.Your body needs sunlight for nutrients and benefits such as:

Noticeable lift it gives your mood,

Helps lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar

Improve your immunity

Regulate your weight

Reverse many chronic diseases

Protects you from many cancers

Improves your overall health and happiness.

Tanning beds do not offer these benefits and do not give the same ultra violet rays your body needs to be able to absorb Vitamin D. Tanning beds can be a quick fix to an upcoming event, or just a maintenance program for your vacation tan, but they are not a healthy thing for your body.

Remember as we get into the summer months for most of us, don’t go out without the sunscreen and, please, minimize the tanning beds.  Skin cancer is a serious risk. Take care of your skin, it is the largest organ of the body.


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