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In the News: Rise in Skin Cancer in Young Women

July is here and that means it's prime time for all of us to think seriously about sun protection. If you think it's harmless to head out in the sun without protection even for an hour--think again. Writer Emma G. Fitzimmons gives an alarming first hand account of her brush with skin cancer in The New York Times. Fitzimmons discovered she had basal cell skin cancer last summer--and she was only 28 years old. Luckily she caught in time before it spread, but for many young women, skin cancer is a death sentence. A Mayo Clinic study done last year showed that melanoma has increased dramatically, especially for people under the age of 40. One of the main factors of skin cancer to come out of the study was use of tanning beds. "A recent study reported that people who use indoor tanning beds frequently are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, and we know young women are more likely to use them than young men," said Dr. Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist and lead researcher of the study. Fitzimmons writes: "More than 20 million people use tanning beds each year, and 70 percent of customers are young white women, who are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. The lamps in tanning beds can give off 10 to 15 times the UVA radiation of normal sun exposure, accelerating the process of skin damage." Thankfully, the FDA is stepping in to do something about it. This year, they proposed warning labels for tanning beds, warning that they are not for people under the age of 18. Another key factor in melanoma is childhood sunburns. The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is, of course, daily use of broad-spectrum SPF 30, as well as regular mole checks. An annual checkup is fine for those who have not been diagnosed with skin cancer previously. “Deciding how much sun you want to get is like asking how much cyanide you want in your breakfast cereal,”explained Dr. Brewer. “There is no amount of tan that is healthy.”
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Schweiger Dermatology

110 East 55th Street
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