Why Skin Cancer Is on the Rise Indoor and outdoor tanning can be dangerous, because the same ultraviolet radiation that provokes a tan also damages DNA. In fact, exposure to the mid-day sun can produce as many as 40,000 DNA errors an hour, said Regina Santella, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York. http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100620/sc_livescience/whyskincancerisontherise
For years and years now, millions of sun worshippers across the country would hit the beaches during summer to work on the perfect, golden tan. However, the advent of indoor tanning salons now allows Americans to sport a sun-kissed look year-round. And as more and more people pursue a perpetual summer-style tan, dermatologists have begun noticing a significant rise in skin cancer incidents, especially among young women.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, still makes up just 3 percent of all skin cancers, and results in about 8,000 deaths a year, according to the National Cancer Institute. But three factors have doctors alarmed: The rates of this cancer are rising; it has become the most common cancer for young people; and many of the cases result from the preventable, but addictive, behavior of indoor suntanning.
"In the last few decades, it's certainly been on the rise. And some people think that may be a result of behavior, and UV exposure," said Jennifer Stein, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "This is a very serious cancer, and this is a behavior that's preventable."
Tanning and cancer go hand-in-hand
Without tanning beds, soaking up the rays was limited to clear days in the summer. The invention of the tanning bed changed that, and throughout the 1990s, the rapid proliferation of tanning salons provided venues for millions of people to sunbathe regardless of weather, season, or time of day.
Since 1992, the indoor tanning industry has grown five-fold, with 28 million indoor tanners in the United States supporting a billion-dollar-a-year business, said Maria Tsoukas, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
During that same period, melanoma rates have increased by 2 percent in the general population, Stein said. Amongst young women, who make up 71 percent of tanning salon customers, incidents of melanoma have increased by 2.2 percent, Stein said. Over that time, skin cancer also became the most common form of cancer for Americans ages 25-29, a group that traditionally shows very low cancer rates, Stein said...