Despite repeated warnings, statistical evidence and major risks, a new study has found that almost one in three teenage girls use tanning beds regularly. What’s even more frightening is that use of these beds increases cancer risks by huge margins. Use of a tanning bed before age 35 jumps melanoma risk by up to 75%, while use before age 25 increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by up to 100% and melanoma risk increases 1.8% with each tanning session per year.
Nonetheless, use is up among young women, but does start to drop off as they age. The problem is that the damage has already been done and unlike some risky behavior like smoking, where damage can diminish or reverse over time if stopped, skin cancer and UV radiation damage are linked and cumulative. In this area, it’s a question of when you’ll develop cancer, not if you will. While education is certainly helpful to alert people to the risks of tanning beds, the industry has grown to $5 billion and there are more than 20,000 tanning salons across the country, so it’a an uphill battle.
There even appears to be evidence that exposure to the type of UV light from tanning beds may be addictive, which explains why some people seem to do it so often. At the present time, 77,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with melanoma and 9,500 of them die from it. If the tanning industry keeps growing then it’s likely those grim statics will grow also.
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Image courtesy of www.skincare-md.com.