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Indoor tanning is contributing to rise in skin cancer incidents

June 24, 2010

With the rise in sunbathing and indoor tanning salons, the price of sporting sun-kissed skin all year long could come at a high cost.

More and more dermatologists are reporting significant increases in skin cancer cases, particularly among young women. As Americans shell out money to the indoor tanning industry in exchange for the elusive perpetual tan, Melanoma, one of the deadliest skin cancers, is now on the rise.

Melanoma, which makes up three per cent of all cancer cases, is responsible for the deaths of 8,000 people per year, says the National Cancer Institute. Doctors are becoming more concerned as three factors continue to be perpetuated by the tanning trend. Foremost, incident rates for Melanoma are on the rise. Secondly, It is currently the most common form of cancer that occurs in younger generations, and lastly, many of those cases could have been prevented with less exposure to harmful UV rays.

According to Jennifer Stein, an assistant dermatology professor for New York University’s Langone Medical Center, in just a few decades overexposure to UV rays has caused the number of incidents of this cancer to increase significantly. Ms Stein added that the most alarming increases are in young women, where the majority admit to frequently using tanning beds.

Since the early 1990s, the indoor tanning industry has increased by five times, with the billion-dollar-a-year industry now supporting 28 million indoor tanners. In the same time frame, Stein said, Melanoma incidents have grown by two percent.

A recent study at University of Michigan, showed that individuals who frequently use tanning beds had three times of a greater risk of developing Melanoma. The study, however, only focused on users of tanning beds and non-users, rather than focusing on the percentage of users that did develop the disease.

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