|Melanoma risk rises in young adults, study||| Print ||
|Written by Liz Caven|
|Tuesday, 03 April 2012 08:43|
With summer sun just on the horizon, Canadians are getting ready to battle the blazing heat by shedding their winter layers in favour of skin-bearing sundresses and shorts.
But the beautiful weather and patio lounging could come at a cost.
A study released by the Mayo Clinic has found a shocking increase in the number of first-time diagnoses of melanoma. According to research that examined data from 1970 to 2009 that found that the rate of melanoma has increased eightfold in women and quadrupled in men.
The Mayo Clinic study sites the increased use of indoor tanning beds as the main culprit for the spike in skin cancer diagnoses. The World Health Organization has upgraded the classification of UV-emitting devices such as tanning beds from a probable carcinogen to a known carcinogen.
"The rise in tanning bed behavior over the years is probably a major contributor," said Dr. Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist and lead investigator in the study.
Tanning bed warning
"There are a lot of other things that have been found to be a factor in melanoma development but tanning bed use is probably a big one," Brewer continued.
The Canadian Dermatology Association said in 2010 there were 5,300 cases of the deadly form of skin cancer and 920 people died. Melanoma is the seventh most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in Canada.
Tanning beds have been gaining a lot of media attention in recent years with a number of cities banning young people from using them. Nova Scotia banned people under the age of 19 from using tanning beds in 2010 and British Columbia followed suit in March making it illegal for those under 18 to use commercial tanning beds.
Dermatologists have been urging people to wear sunscreen with a miniumum sun protection factor 15 for years. But there are a number of other practices that people should get into the habit of in order to protect themselves from the disease.
"Don't go to tanning beds, look at your skin," Brewer said in a video press release in which he listed the main ways people can protect themselves. "See a dermatologist and that could save your life," he said.
The Canadian Cancer Society is in no way supportive of tanning in any form, indoors or out. They do however recomment sun exposure as a part of healthy living. Within moderation, of course.
Being safe in the sun is a major component to cancer prevention. Lindsay Collins, senior coordinator of prevention at The Canadian Cancer Society gave tips to thedailyplanet.com on how to stay cancer-free.
"One of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun is to cover up," said Collins. "Choose clothing that is loose fitting, tightly woven and lightweight, wear a hat with a wide brim that covers your head, face, ears and neck."
Wear sunscreen every day, even when it is cloudy. Buying moisturizer with SPF is a great way to protect your skin and minimize the number of products you need to put on.
People have a many misconceptions about tanning and sun safety such as the belief that a tan is a sign of health. Toronto Public Health's sun safety site dispells these types of myths.
"When your skin colour changes, it’s a sign that your skin has been damaged," said Collins. "This damage can build up over time and lead to premature aging and skin cancer."
Having fun in the sun is a major part of enjoying the mere four summer months in Canada. There are 3 little words to remember when heading out for a day of UV-filled activities Toronto Health says: "slip" on a shirt, "slop" on the sunscreen and "slap" on a hat.
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