People would anything to get a good tan on their body, but would you be willing to risk your life for it? Once upon a time, tanning beds were massively popular in the western world until they were labeled as ‘cancer booths’ by dermatologists who were seeing an increase in skin cancer cases that could directly be linked with people’s obsession for tanning beds.
But despite being known for its cancerous properties, tanning beds continue to thrive in different parts of the world. When exactly will the government put a ban on the cancer-causing business?
A Shocking Number of People Use Tanning Beds
UV radiations from the sun and other artificial sources like lamps installed inside tanning beds are known carcinogens and have been declared a public health threat by organizations like WHO and United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The Skin Cancer Foundation has also found that people who use tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase the melanoma risk by 75 per cent, add daily sun exposure to that and you have a sure-shot ticket to developing skin cancer later in life. Another shocking study by JAMA Dermatology discovered that there are more people who have developed skin cancer due to tanning beds than those who have lung cancer due to excessive smoking.
These shocking facts all contain a unanimous message about the tanning beds: don’t use them if you want to live a longer, healthier life. However, a report from American Academy of Dermatology shows that 35 percent of the adults in the U.S., 17 percent of the teens and almost 60 percent of the college students still choose to ignore the warning and use tanning beds.
Developing Melanoma at the Age of 32
Tricia Thompson first noticed that something was wrong with her skin after her hairstylist pointed out a dark mole behind her ear which had grown over the past few months. Thompson, who was 32 at the time, went to a dermatologist to get it removed and the doctor was successfully able to freeze the mole. A few years later, it reappeared in the place as it had the last time and it was the stylist again who saw it first. However, this time, the mole was much bigger and greenish-blue in color.
Tricia booked an appointment with a different dermatologist this time who diagnosed her with melanoma. There were two possible scenarios in Tricia’s situation: she could either have the cancer removed and live with a disfiguring scar for the rest of her life or the melanoma could kill her. Tricia recalled that she had worked at an indoor training salon for a few years while she was in college and had even made use of the tanning beds two to three times a week through the age of 14 up until she was 21.
Tricia was young and uninformed about the dangers of tanning beds at the time, and at the age of 34 she had already developed the most serious form of skin cancer and now had to undergo expensive procedures and surgeries for treatment. Two weeks after receiving her diagnosis, Tricia had a surgery which removed the one-fourth of her ear, and even the melanoma had been successfully removed through the procedure, a six-month-follow-up appointment revealed that the cancer was back and this time, the doctor cut off Tricia’s earlobe to save her life.
The Appeal of Tanning Beds
Stephanie Lilly says that the hype around tanned, bronze skin always sucks her into indoor tanning sessions even though she knows that they are extremely bad for her health. She currently goes for tanning at least thrice a week, and sometimes even every day, if she is expecting to go on a beach vacation.
Doctors say that although there could be other factors causing an increase in melanoma cases around the country, the fact that the cancer mostly appears in those people who have used tanning beds at some point in their lives shouldn’t be ignored. If women don’t change their tanning and skin care habits, the melanoma cases will continue to increase with time.