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Did you hear? Governor Brown of California has signed a bill into law which bans tanning beds for minors! This is incredible news! But let me ask this again…did you hear?
When I scan the internet for links for my Facebook page, I typically do Google and/or Bing searches for melanoma “news” and “videos.” When word of Yervoy and other drugs came out, there were videos a plenty. With this news from California, I saw plenty of links to news articles, but no videos. There seemed to be no videos that aired on the broadcast news. I eventually dug deeper and found one at CBS News. Unfortunately, the text accompanying the video read “the health police are at it again.” Hardly a glowing report on a potential life-saving decision. It seems the broadcasting of this news was quite limited.
Next I checked a couple of major cancer organizations. These aren’t just the melanoma people, but groups that encompass ALL cancers. Since I recently “liked” this group, I looked at Stand Up 2 Cancer’s Facebook page. Nothing. Not one word. I then looked at the American Cancer Society FB page. As of right now, there is only one comment about the California law…and it’s posted by yours truly.
This is disturbing to me. I feel like melanoma is the young teenager that still has to sit at the kids’ table during holidays. Sure, this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the color pink has completely taken over this month (which ironically used to be about orange and black which just happen to be the two melanoma colors). Perhaps the focus on Breast Cancer has these all-cancer organizations so focused on pink football cleats and pink Pringles containers that they simply didn’t notice this news that’s very important to the melanoma bunch.
Then again, it could be that these all-cancer groups don’t want to rock the boat. After all, not everyone is celebrating this new law. There is a HUGE tanning industry that just took a big hit and, frankly, many patrons of these solariums just don’t get it. They believe the government is taking away a legal right to tan. (Note, they only banned the use of tanning beds from minors…teens can still legally get skin cancer the old fashioned way under the sun). I have to admit that I understand their argument. I don’t agree with the tanners' point of view (because I’m informed of the truth) but I understand. If it was determined that consumption of M&M’s caused mouth cancer and thus the sale of M&M’s was banned, I’d be fighting that decision to the Supreme Court. But then again, maybe if there was overwhelming hard evidence from a number of medical organizations around the world, I might eventually be convinced to eat Skittles.
Thankfully, organizations like the Skin Cancer Foundation, MRF, and AIM at Melanoma are getting the word out and spear heading these new laws and campaigns. Most of all, they’re working to educate people on the dangers of UV radiation and trying to get the point across that skin cancer is preventable by being sun and UV smart!
Did you hear that? Preventable! I hope others hear that as well.