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Statistics About Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

While most people have heard that tanning indoors comes with risks of damage to the skin and eyes, learning the statistics about tanning beds and skin cancer are very unnerving. First, it is important to understand that all sunburns increase the risk of three types of skin cancer, which includes basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Recently, the Journal of National Cancer Institute has come up with some interesting facts about tanning beds and booths. The result shows without doubt that the risk for both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas does increase.

During this study, 603 people living in New Hampshire with basal cell carcinoma, 293 people with squamous cell carcinoma, and 540 individuals without cancer at all were tested. The groups consisted of both men and women between the ages of 25 and 74. One aspect of the testing was to determine the knowledge each of the participants had about tanning beds and/or booths and skin cancer. The factors addressed included sunburn tendency, history of sun tanning, time spent outdoors, number of bad sunburns, use of a tanning bed, tanning booth, or sun lamp, tobacco use, previous radiation treatment, which included x-rays, and the age and last use of a tanning bed, tanning booth, or sun lamp.

Then, the number of people with skin cancer that had used some type of tanning equipment prior to being diagnosed was compared with the number of non-cancerous individuals who had also used some type of tanning equipment. The result of this study showed that the people who had used a tanning bed, tanning booth, or sun lamp were 2.5 times more likely to develop the squamous type of cancer while the increase of basal cancer was 1.5 times greater when compared to those without cancer.

The fascinating thing was that during this study, researchers found that most of the people without cancer assumed they were cancer free simply because no diagnosis had been made at the time of the study. What they failed to realize was that having used tanning beds, tanning booths, or sun lamps meant at some time in the future, they could easily fall into the cancerous group.

These statistics about tanning beds and skin cancer is frightening and should be an eye-opener for all of us. If you love to indoor tan or are considering it, then you should think twice if you care about your skin. You should never be fooled by claims made by tanning salons or bed/booth manufacturers whereby they state their beds are completely safe - no tanning bed or booth is safe.

Additionally, just because tanning equipment emits mostly UVA rays included of UVB rays that too should not fool you. Sure, UVA rays do not cause sunburn as often but studies actually show UVA rays can cause melanoma, the deadliest of all cancers. Then, UVA rays also increase the risk of the other two types of cancers. The bottom line is that this is risky business. We all love dark, golden tans and healthy looking skin but when it comes to tanning devices, you must weigh your odds of beauty versus health to determine if a golden tan is worth getting skin cancer.

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