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Deadly Decisions

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Surely by now, you have heard that there is lobbyist action petitioning to restrict teenage use of tanning beds. How do you feel about your teenager using a tanning bed? Would you allow it? Would you drive them to the appointment? Would you pay for their tanning package?  This is a hot topic of teen desires vs. parental responsibilities that is causing a lot of controversy.

I bring up this topic as Prom and graduation are almost here. As our beautiful girls prepare for the events they have been dreaming of, achieving that ideal appearance often means several trips to a tanning salon to give their skin the golden glow they desire. Unfortunately, more and more young women are getting more “color”  than they bargained for in the form of Melanoma – the deadliest form of skincancer today.

Since the days of CoCo Channel, we, as a culture, have been groomed to believe that tanned skin is beautiful skin. I would bet it is one of the longest-running, certainly the most deadly fashion trend to date. Tanning beds (or cancer beds as I often refer to them) have become intensely popular among teenagers and I have to believe that it is our duty as parents to not only protect them from harm’s way but to educate them on the risks of tanning so they are able to make informed decisions about their safety when they are on their own.  Alarming increases in diagnosed skin cancers among people under 30 who use tanning beds has caused organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology to lobby for laws limiting minor’s access to tanning beds.

At Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Center, too often Dr. Castillo or I will see a patient who is fearful of a suspicous spot or fighting a brutle battle with skin cancer.  The stories are always heart-breaking.  As a mother of two beautiful daughters who fill my house with their friends on a regular basis, it has become my mission to discuss the dangers of tanning bed use (and exposure to the sun’s UV radiation) with all of my daughter’s friends. The response that I have received from most of their friends has actually surprised me. I expected the typical teen “yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but it won’t happen to me” response.  Instead, these teenage girls sat down with me, and they listened, like sponges.  (Now I know I just used the term “teenagers” and “listened” in the same sentence, so I will give you a minute to try to re-gather your composure and then we will move forward).  Ready?

Most of them had no idea that they could get cancer from tanning beds and certainly didn’t realize that it could take their life. The amount of misconception I heard about sun exposure and tanning beds was extensive to say the least. I think that is true of a lot of adults out there as well.  I’ve even gotten a few phones from my daughter’s friends that went something like “Roxanne, I’m at Walgreens buying a sunscreen.  There are so many, can you help me pick out the right one?” Now, unfortunately one of these phone calls came in 2 hours past my bedtime… but that’s a teen for you, right?

So I am blogging today to encourage you to become educated on all the recent updates and valid studies surrounding the dangers of tanning beds and UV radiation and to share your knowledge or even this blog with anyone in your life who may be using a tanning bed.  You can find proven informaiton at sites like http://www.skincancer.org/   and http://www.cancer.org/  You never know when this information could save the life of someone you love. Let me arm you with a few proven statistics to get started.

Did you know your risk of melanoma increases by 75% when you use a tanning bed before the age of 30? According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, it also increases your risk of being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma by 2 ½ times and makes you 1 ½ times more likely to be diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.”  That means time spent is a tanning bed is as dangerous as Arsenic.  Would you allow someone you love to knowingly expose themselves to arsenic?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA today.  According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, there are more than 3.5 million skin cancers and  two million NEW skin cancer cases diagnoses annually.  One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Just to give you an idea of the rapid increase in skin cancer diagnoses today, I wrote an article in March of 2009, titled “One Million Reasons to Protect Your Children.” https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=31 Just three short years later, it would have to be titled TWO Million Reasons to Protect Your Children! That is a pretty sobering thought, isn’t it?

There are now good alternative out there that can satisify the needs of both teens and parents.  Tanning lotions and spray tans can give the popular sun kissed look your teen desires while providing peace of mind that they are not being exposured to life-threatening UV radiation.

Below are three other past blog articles that will give you more information about UV radiation and the damage it can cause.

 

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=238 – Dying to get a Tan

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=322  – Top 5 reasons for avoiding Sunblock

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=320  – Melanoma Are you at risk

 

Sincerely,

Roxanne Hammond, RMA

Skincare and Laser Specialist

G. D. Castillo, M.D.

COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DrCastilloCosmeticPlasticSurgery

800-252-7123 (within IL)

217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)

309-662-0436 Bloomington

Roxanne, Skincare & Laser Specialist

 

 

 

Buyer Beware: Billboard of Half Truths

Friday, November 20th, 2009

How many of you have seen the billboards or other material that states “Vitamin D from Tanning Beds and Sunshine can reduce your risk of Breast Cancer by 75%”? It even displays a pink ribbon that mimics the pink ribbon used by the American Breast Cancer Association. Look closely…DO NOT BE FOOLED.  Though similar, it is not the same pink ribbon of support used by the American Breast Cancer Association, nor was the ABCA in support or even aware of this marketing campaign when I called them. The American Breast Cancer Association doesn’t make a recommendation to use a tanning bed or sun bathe. Touting tanning as a measure to prevent breast cancer is not only scientifically unfounded by peer review, but is incredibly self-defeating to those who heed the tanning industries misleading advise.

Those involved in this marketing campaign, extracted theories from on-going studies that report that there is some link between Vitamin D Deficiency and certain cancers such as breast cancer, along with other disorders including but not limited to depression, autism, and osteoporosis and so on.  Please understand these studies have not concluded that Vitamin D Deficiency is a cause of illnesses such as breast cancer.  They are only stating that there is evidence that those with certain illnesses are often also Vitamin D deficient. They then crossed that information with the fact that one way to increase vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight or a tanning bed and came up with an unconscionable advertisement.

Vitamin D levels can be increased through various options.  Some are safe.  Some are not.  Some options have a positive effect on the body in general while other options are scientifically proven carcinogens.  I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t make much sense to me to expect to lessen my chance of developing breast cancer by using a method (tanning) that is proven to cause other forms of cancer such as deadly skin cancers, cancers of the eye, other health issues and pre-mature aging (wrinkles, brown spots, broken blood vessels, sagging, discolored skin).  How about you?

The safe options to increase Vitamin D levels include:

  1. Oral calcium supplements that include vitamin D.
  2. Diet – according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH) including salmon, tuna, beef liver, eggs, orange juice, milk, yogurt, and some cereals in your diet will increase your vitamin D intake naturally.

Options to increase vitamin D that are proven to cause cancer and pre-mature aging:

  1. UV radiation from the sun
  2. UV radiation from tanning beds

Earlier this summer, Lancet Oncology announced that the rating on tanning beds has been moved from a “probable” cause of skin cancer to a “DEFINATE” cause of skin cancer.  This means that tanning beds are now a PROVEN carcinogen, just like cigarettes / nicotine.  UV radiation not only makes you look “old” before you time, it can KILL you.

According to statistics provided by Dr. Brooke Rutleadge Seckel, Assistant Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School, in 1935, Americans had a 1 in 1500 risk of developing invasive melanoma in their lifetime.  By 2001 that number increased to 1 in 74.  Today, it is 1 in 50!  Over ONE MILLION new cases of squamous and basal cell skin cancers will be diagnosed this year along with more than 60,000 cases of Melanoma (the deadliest of skin cancers).

I understand that many people are convinced that in order for their skin to look attractive, it must be tan, have “some color.”  But, I think you’ll have to agree that no matter how tan your skin is, there is nothing SEXY about a cancerous lesion on your face! Healthy, radiant skin of any color is beautiful skin.  This means skin that is soft, supple, well hydrated and free of discolorations such as brown spots, yellowing, and broken vessels. One can have a nice bone structure, a bright smile, a bubbly personality yet nothing is as salient as glowing, undamaged skin.

I am no way judging tanning salon owners for their choice of business or those whom choose to tan.  Every adult has the right to make that choice.  I am however, objecting to the attempt to mislead the public for an industries own growth.  Every adult has the right to freedom of choice.  I just think you also have the duty to be correctly informed of the benefits and consequences of any choice.  I believe it to be a sad day in America when those affiliated with this campaign and industry (tanning) are willing to show such little regard for human health…for human life…

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

Tanning After Surgery

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Often a patient will ask “how long do I have to wait after my surgery to go back to the tanning beds?”  The answer is …“FOREVER.”  Of course we share with them that UV exposure to an incision can delay healing and darken the scar, making it more noticeable.  However, there are much more important reasons that we want our patients to be aware of.

In the Lancet Oncology Journal, a panel of cancer experts upgraded the warning on tanning beds from “probably” to “DEFINITELY” able to cause cancer. You may recall seeing this on the CBS morning show in the late summer of this year.

UVA radiation used in tanning beds is responsible for the increased risk of developing basal cell and squamous cell cancers along with melanoma, the most deadly of all skin cancers. The fact that UV radiation causes skin cancer cannot be taken lightly.  According to the American Cancer Society one million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers will be reported and over 60,000 cases of Melanoma will be reported this year as well.

UVA is often referred to as the aging ray.  It allows ionizing radiation free to destroy the protein in elastic fibers called “elastin” and collagen.  This creates signs of pre-mature aging such as wrinkles, skin ptosis (sagging skin) brown spots and broken blood vessels. If the thought of brown spots, sagging, dull dry and wrinkled skin sounds unappealing to you, take a look at a cancerous facial lesion.   It might make those “dying” to get a tan think twice.

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington