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Deadly Decisions

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

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800-252-7123 (within IL)

217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)

309-662-0436 Bloomington

Roxanne, Skincare & Laser Specialist

 

 

 

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