Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Link Between Young Women, Tanning, and Melanoma

I was watching a rerun of Cake Boss last night (a family favorite).  It was the episode where "Snooki," from "Jersey Shore" appears.  The young delivery guy, Anthony, was flirting with the MTV reality star and she asked if he spent any time in the tanning booth.  He hadn't.  She gave him a disapproving look and said, "well, you need to!"

This exchange somewhat explains a report that was published by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California yesterday.  It states that adolescent girls and young women living in wealthy communities were more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma.  Data was included from a total of 3,800 non-Hispanic white girls and women between the ages of 15 and 39, in whom 3,842 melanomas were diagnosed. Regardless of the year of diagnosis, adolescent girls and young women living in neighborhoods with the highest socioeconomic status were nearly six times more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than those living in the lowest socioeconomic status.  The authors suspect that wealthier women may be spending lots of time out in the sun - at home and on vacation - and frequenting tanning beds.

Cases of melanoma have been rising in young white women in the United States in recent decades, more than doubling since the early 1970s.  While melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, it is much more dangerous and causes the majority (75%) of deaths related to skin cancer. Worldwide, doctors diagnose about 160,000 new cases of melanoma yearly.  According to a Wolrd Health Organization report about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year.

I honestly hope no one ever develops malignant melanoma, but I can't help but think that Snooki and her friends are playing with fire.  While being tan has been an attractive feature for many years, one can't simply ignore the fact that too much UV radiation, either from the sun or ANY tanning beds, is dangerous.  As stated in many articles, "no tan is a healthy tan."  It's time we spread the word and make people aware!

(Portions of article obtained from Reuters, FoxNews and NBC)

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