America Warned Against Skin Cancer

tanning and sun bathingThe Surgeon General is dead serious on his warning against skin cancer. STOP TANNING! The society views tanned skin as healthy and attractive, which leads to hundreds of sun worshippers, basking under the scorching heat of the sun for hours. Even those who have no time for sunbathing would spend time inside tanning beds in order to achieve the color that they want.

However, Dr. Boris Lushniak, the current  Surgeon General, reported that skin cancer is the most popular type of cancer in the US, overtaking lung cancer and even breast cancer. In fact, melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, causes death every 57 minutes. Of the five million people being treated annually for skin cancer, 10 percent of those obtained the disease due to indoor tanning.

Skin Cancer Incidence

Utah, has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the US. According to Lynne Nilson, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Health, the state occupies the top spot. The rate of melanoma cases in Utah is almost 60% higher than the national rate. Death cases due to skin cancer is also 30% higher compared to the national average.

Based on CDC statistics, other states with high incidence of skin cancer include Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Wahsington ad Wyoming.

Indoor Tanning

Tanning salons can be found anywhere in the US. Even teenagers frequent tanning salons regularly. Due to the recent increase in skin cancer incidence, some states moved to ban tanning for those who are 18 years old and below.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website, indoor tanning below the age of 18 is banned in Washington, Vermont, Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, Hawaii and California.

Other states require parental permission while others have a lower age ban. For instance, Maine, Georgia and Delaware restrict indoor tanning to age 14 and below. Alabama restricts those 15 and below while Connecticut limits those 17 years and below. Some states require schools to include education on the risks of skin cancer while others allow exceptions to the rule if required for medical reasons.

Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

Anybody can get skin cancer. It is not limited to a single ethnicity and age group alone. However, it is more common among non-Hispanic whites. Nevertheless, doctors always recommend the use of sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 when going outdoors. Apart from applying sunscreen, wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat to protect your skin from UV rays. Protect your eyes as well with anti-UV sunglasses and stay in the shade during midday ours.

People tend to disregard applying sunscreen when going outside, especially if it is cloudy or during wintertime. However, even if the sun’s rays are not directly hitting our skin, radiation is still present. Avoid indoor tanning as much as possible. An unnaturally tanned skin is a sign of damaged skin. It is never healthy to sport a tan all-year round if you were born with fair skin.

Photo Credit: marek.krzystkiewicz on Flickr via Wikipedia


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