It is commonly known and proven that indoor tanning is tied to skin cancer—the most common type of cancer. Estimates show that approximately 30 million people use tanning beds at least once a year. It is interesting to note that about 25 percent of these people are teenagers. A recent study published in the Journal of Cancer Policy reveals that skin cancer cases are costing up to $343 million each year, much of this resulting from the use of tanning beds.
Tanning beds produce UV-A rays, which are known to damage DNA. Additionally, these beds produce UV-B rays that can burn the skin, which increases the risks for skin cancer. According to research, indoor tanning prior to the age of 35 raises the risk of melanoma up to 75 percent.
Researchers conducting the study focused on melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma cases. The researchers examined skin cancer cases in 2015. They then looked at the prevalence of indoor tanning and the risk of skin cancers. The study showed than an estimated 263,600 skin cancer cases could be attributed to tanning bed usage. After examining these numbers, the study then averaged the cost of treating patients and found the total of $343 million per year.
In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration has put into place steps to reduce the use of tanning beds. The FDA announced in 2014 that tanning bed manufacturers would be required to place a warning on the beds that they should not be used by those under 18 years of age. Tanning beds were also deemed as moderate-risk products, allowing health officials to review tanning bed safety prior to market release. The Affordable Care Act also tried to reduce tanning bed use by implementing an excise tax on indoor tanning services. Researchers said that they want to help reduce the use of indoor tanning beds by highlighting the social costs.
Says Dr. Thomas Wright of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center, “We know the dangers surrounding indoor tanning, especially with research proving the association of their use and skin cancer cases.” Dr. Wright and his team are very knowledgeable in the prevention of skin cancers. We extend an invitation to you to schedule a consultation to discuss your risk level, as well as steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer.