Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 63,000 cases each year, reported Boris D. Lushniak, the acting U.S. surgeon general, who is urging people to remember the dangers of ultraviolet ray exposure. The report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday revealed skin cancer cases have risen by 200 percent in the last 30 years.
It seems indoor tanning is a major culprit, as the report claims more than 400,000 cases in the U.S. result from sunbeds.
“Every year, nearly one out of every three young white women aged 16-25 engages in indoor tanning,” writes Howard K. Koh, assistant secretary for Health. He adds:
“It’s important to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health. And a 'base' tan is not a 'safe' tan. Tanned skin is damaged skin. Understanding the risk of UV exposure is crucial to protecting ourselves and our loved ones.”
The Melanoma Research Foundation says anyone less than 30 years of age who uses tanning beds increases the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent.
Lushniak intends to address the issue in the following five goals:
Goal 1: Increase opportunities for sun protection in outdoor settings
Goal 2: Provide individuals with the information needed to make informed, healthy choices about UV exposure
Goal 3: Promote policies advancing the national goal of preventing skin cancer
Goal 4: Reduce harm from indoor tanning
Goal 5: Strengthen research, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation related to skin cancer prevention
The report also features an extensive list of ways to prevent skin cancer, including specified information for school and for those who work outdoors.
Not only is skin cancer becoming more common, it is also becoming more expensive with treatment for the disease costing the U.S. $8.1 billion each year. At an average of $25 a pop, a spray tan is definitely the cheaper and safer option.
The best ways to avoid contracting the disease are, however, rather obvious: Avoid the midday sun, wear a high sun protection factor sunscreen and don’t be afraid to look like Larry David on the beach.