Facebook Pixel

Tanning Beds Get Heat

Rate This

Believe it or not, 1 in 5 of our readers will get skin cancer in their lifetime. That is an amazing statistic! Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with more instances of melanoma than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. According to Dr. Susan Evans during a recent interview with ABC News, there will be 1 million cases of skin cancer reported this year.

What is happening and why is our attention coming to it today?

Skin cancer conditions are being realized earlier. The instances of skin cancer are being diagnosed and treated more frequently in younger patients. There is speculation that the reason for this early onset of skin cancer and skin cancer symptoms is the result of tanning bed usage by younger generations.

The FDA is considering new guidelines regarding tanning bed usage. Today, most spas and tanning salons inform users of the hazards and the importance of UV protective eye coverings and lotions. The FDA plans to require signage warning of the dangers of skin cancer, premature aging, cataracts and suppression of the immune system that can result from sun exposure.

In response, John Overstreet, Executive Director of the Indoor Tanning Association says: “Business is already going further than what FDA requires to make sure that people are aware of the risks”. Often, salons ask customers to read and sign a waiver and may even have posters warning of potential dangers of extended tanning bed exposure including burn.

Tanning beds are very popular with teenagers who want to ‘look good’ in that dress for the dance, swim suit season or prom. Dr. Evans states that this early exposure with tanning bed usage will increase the possibility of contracting skin cancer 75 percent.

She urges everyone to see a dermatologist if there is a suspicious mole and or any skin condition that is a change from ‘normal’.

A dermatologist should be in your skin’s health care plan in addition to sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Good thought i appreciate for your thought...

April 3, 2010 - 5:13am

Thank you Pat and Susan for the kind words....It is always too easy to look back and do the "I should Offs"
but, it is what it is. The most important thing is that we learn from what has happened, make the necessary changes and move forward. My oncologist has told me by just walking outside to the mailbox and back is enough "sun" for your system. Plus you can take a supplement. I am very grateful that Merkel Cell has not reared its ugly head again and I faithfully see my Oncologist and Dermatologist every 6 months. PET scans are finally performed on a 6 mos. schedule instead of every 3 mos. Plus the Scan is with contrast and is done from head to toe.... So far, both basil and squamous have been removed and I am fairly certain there will be more "spots" as time goes on. All the more reason, we all need to be vigilant about any skin changes, spots, bumps etc....we are also our own best advocates when it comes to caring for our bodies....

I particiapated in many cancer walks but one in particular really stayed with me....one of its sponsors was a Tanning Salon. How ironic. My husband who is cyclist helps to raise money for cancer awareness by doing the 100 mile bike rides and I usually volunteer. But, we both strongly feel that Merkel Cell is still in the shadows and not enough is brought out for the general public to truly be aware of this silent and deadly cancer. Maybe in time, as research progresses, and more information is collaborated, Merkel Cell Carcinoma will be better known.
Thanks again for the kind words.

Best wishes,

April 3, 2010 - 4:54am

Personally, I feel that tanning beds should be FDA regulated.....and if anyone out there thinks they are safer than sun bathing, think again. I enjoyed utilizing the tanning beds - until 2006 - I was diagnosed with an extremely rare, aggressive and often deadly "new form" skin cancer. It is called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. It took surgeries, chemo and radiation to get me to where I am today. The biggest contributing factor and common denominator is the sun or tanning beds......Since Merkel Cell reared its ugly head, I have also had Squamous Cell and Basil Cell removed via MOHS....Those with Merkel Cell should not really have MOHS for excising the cancer.

I honestly feel more should be brought to light regarding "Tanning Salons"......you may be putting yourself at risk and paying a high cost for doing so. Skin cancer is definetly on the rise.


April 1, 2010 - 8:53pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to audi)

Audi - Thanks for writing and sharing your experience. Since this article was posted a new report has come out showing that the volume of skin cancers is even higher than had been previously known and is at "epidemic" proportions. There are precautions we all need to take to avoid skin cancers, including the use of tanning beds. I hope your personal recovery is going well and that you're enjoying your life today. Thanks again for sharing with us.

Take care, Pat

April 2, 2010 - 5:18pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Pat Elliott)

I second Pat, Audi.

Thank you for sharing your story and thank goodness you are alive today to talk about it.

I am a recovering 'tanorexic' myself. I went almost daily and I loved my tanned skin. I finally stopped in my early 30s before lasting damage and now use a fake tanning system year round that gives me the tan I want. I'm ghostly white and just don't like that ghostlyness!

Hearing your story, I just don't know what I was thinking, although I was a smoker too. My 20s were my Decade of Bad Mistakes!

I agree with you that more and more attention needs to be placed on the use of tanning beds. Kids are young as 14 as using them (right along with Mom!) and it's out of control.

A lot of people say the heat just makes them feel so good. I agree with that. Heat and sun DOES make us feel good because it releases serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Everyone needs the sun for optimal health. We just need it in small doses (and after that we need protectant), not a concentrated 30 minute blast.

Thank you again for your story and I wish you a very happy, and cancer free life...



April 3, 2010 - 4:15am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Skin Cancer

Get Email Updates

Skin Cancer Guide


Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!