FDA Warns Indoor Tanning Raises The Risk Of Deadly Melanoma

  • June 06, 2014
  • Blog

Do Tanning Beds Cause Cancer?

The FDA has issued a firm warning that indoor tanning raises the risk of melanoma. Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. If it is not caught early, melanoma can easily spread to other parts of the body.

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Do tanning beds cause cancer? Studies say yes.

The use of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology and the World Health Organization.

Frequent tanning can also increase the risk of a benign mole progressing to melanoma. The risk increases with each tanning session.

Is using a tanning bed a few times safe?

The simple answer is no. A single use of a tanning bed can still be dangerous. This danger is even more serious for young people. The younger a person is when they use a tanning bed the greater the risk of damage to the skin.

Take a look at this frightening statistic:

Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%).

Philadelphia personal injury lawyer John Mattiacci discusses the increased risk of cancer caused by tanning beds.

If even a single tanning session can increase the risk of cancer, using a tanning bed multiple times will only increase that risk.

So if you are going on a vacation and want to try a tanning bed to get a base tan before going away, please do not do it. Even the single use of a tanning bed can increase your risk of cancer.

How does a tanning bed cause cancer?

A tanning bed bombards your body with ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This UV light can damage your skin. This skin damage can cause cancer.

What is ultraviolet (UV) radiation?

UV radiation is type of light. You cannot see UV light, but your body can feel it and be affected by it.

There are three main types of UV radiation. UVA, UVB, and UVC. There are differences between these types of UV light.

Ultraviolet-A (UVA) has the longest wavelength of UV radiation. It penetrates the deepest into your skin. It is commonly associated with skin aging.

Ultraviolet-B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength. It is most commonly associated with causing sunburn.

Ultraviolet-C (UVC) has the shortest wavelength. UV-C is emitted by the sun but it usually blocked by Earth's atmosphere.

Do tanning beds use UV light?

Tanning beds mostly emit UVA radiation. This type of radiation causes skin damage and prematurely ages your skin cells. It can penetrate deep into the top layer of skin. This layer is where most skin cancers develop.

The skin tries to protect itself from absorbing UVA by darkening. This results in the tan that is sought after by so many people.

However, UVA physically damages the DNA inside skin cells. This damage can result in cell mutation. This mutation can then lead to cancer.

UVA can also cause wrinkles, spots, and other physical damage to your skin.

It there an age requirement to use a tanning bed in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to go tanning if you are 16 years of age or younger. A person who is 17 can use a tanning bed if they provide written permission by a parent or guardian.

The Indoor Tanning Regulation Act was enacted in 2014. This law was passed to help protect young people from the dangers of indoor tanning.

Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous to young people. According to the Cancer Action Network, melanoma is currently the second most common cancer among females aged 15-29. Melanoma is the second most common cancer among females between the ages of 25-29.

Studies show using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.

The earlier a person starts tanning, the greater the overall risk will be. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is cumulative, meaning it continues to increase with each session.

Preventing young people from tanning will help reduce overall skin cancer rates.

Thousands die from skin cancer each year

The American Cancer Society estimates that 13,000 people die from skin cancer each year in the United States. Of those, about 9,700 die from melanoma, which is considered the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Tanning beds directly increase the risk of developing melanoma.

In a study in 2014, nearly 400,000 cases of skin cancer were attributed to the use of indoor tanning beds. Of those cases, nearly 6,200 cases of melanoma were attributed to using tanning beds.

This information makes it even more obvious that people should avoid indoor tanning at all costs.  

A base tan is not a safe tan

People often use indoor tanning beds to get a base tan. The idea is that if you have a controlled exposure to UV light you can get an initial tan. The belief is that a base tan will then protect that person from getting sunburned.

This is not true. Getting a base tan does not protect you from getting sunburned. It only increases the damage to your skin caused by UV radiation.

There is no benefit to getting a base tan if your ultimate goal is to protect yourself from skin damage or the risk of skin cancer.

Use broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin

Avoid using tanning beds if you want to lower the risk of skin cancer. Also, you should utilize a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin.

Certain sunscreens may only protection against certain types of UV-radiation. For example, many sunscreens only protect against UVB radiation because those are the sun's rays that are most commonly associated with causing sunburn.

However, it is important to use a sunscreen that also shields your skin from UVA. A sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB is usually referred to as a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen will help prevent your skin from premature aging and damage caused by UVA. It will also help prevent your sun from being burned by UVB radiation.

The earlier in your life you start to use sunscreen, the better you will protect yourself from skin cancer.

About Mattiacci Law

Mattiacci Law is a personal injury law firm. Our firm has offices in Philadelphia, PA and in Moorestown, NJ.

The firm represents clients injured in cases involving car accidents, falls, construction accidents, defective products, dog bites, and other incidents.

If you or a family member have been injured or need legal help, please contact us to speak to one of our personal injury lawyers. We have decades of experience in helping injured victims across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The initial consultation is always completely free.

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