Melanoma has surged in young women tripling in number between 1973 and 2004. Although there are some genetic factors, unprotected sun exposure and the use of tanning beds are the culprits.
Online PR News – 20-March-2010 – – Minneapolis, MN, March 20-Melanoma rates for young women ages 15-30 have been rising at an alarming level with researchers reporting a tripling of the disease since 1974. It is now the second-most common cancer in U.S. women ages 20-29, according to the American Cancer Society and other leading cancer organizations.
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. And, although it accounts for less than five percent of all skin cancer cases, it is the most deadly, causing a large majority of deaths from the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 68,720 new melanomas were diagnosed in the United States during 2009 accounting for 8,500 deaths.
The medical community has no doubt why melanoma is being seen with increasing frequency in young women. C. William Hanke, a past president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said the findings should serve as a reminder to young women about the dangers of unprotected outdoor sun exposure and indoor tanning. "The take-home message is: Unprotected outdoor ultraviolet exposure is dangerous," Hanke said. "Ultraviolet radiation is a carcinogen. If you bathe your skin in the ultraviolet light carcinogen long enough, skin cancer is going to develop."
That unprotected exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer has been undisputed for decades. However, vigorous public campaigning by indoor tanning industry groups may have confused the issue of tanning beds dangers for many, especially young women, who might be predisposed to tanning for cosmetic reasons.
That issue was laid to rest last summer when the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, found that tanning beds are “carcinogenic to humans” and classified UVR from tanning in the same category as mustard gas, plutonium, cigarettes and arsenic.
Although there are some genetic risk factors associated with melanoma, the vast majority of the disease results from unprotected exposure to UVR, either natural or artificial. And, the advice of the World Health Organization, among countless other anti-cancer groups is clear: Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sun protection clothing, broad spectrum sunscreen and seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day.
Of indoor tanning, the WHO says, “Avoid sunbeds: use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma. Unless under medical supervision, sunbeds or sunlamps should not be used. WHO recommends banning their use by people under 18 years old.”