Monday, May 17, 2010

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Separating Fact from Fairy Tale:
Once Upon a Tanning Bed

In case you didn't know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there has been a 350% increase in the number of new skin cancer cases in the last decade and a half. Myths still abound about the disease, So I've decided to address a few of the biggies this month.

Take for instance the idea that tanning beds are safer than the sun. If you've not yet been updated on this one, let me be the first to tell you: WRONG! Numerous studies now show that those that use tanning beds before the age of 30 are 75% more likely to develop skin cancer in their lifetimes. International experts on skin cancer have even gone so far as to compare tanning beds to mustard gas and arsenic in terms of deadliness. Yes, you read this right- tanning beds aren't just not great for you, they can actually be deadly.

If you've fallen prey to this myth, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, STOP tanning! Stop believing the lie that pale=sick and tan=healthy, and embrace who you are- that includes the skin tone you were born with. Second, be aware of the signs of skin cancer. Check yourself often, and see your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • Any change on your skin, including new growths. Pay special attention to the size or color of any moles or other darkly pigmented growth or spot.
  • A bump or nodule (moles, freckles, skin tags, etc...) should be smooth and dry. Keep and eye out for bleeding, roughness, or oozing.
  • The spread of pigmentation beyond its border; dark coloring that seems to seep past the edge of a mole or mark.
  • a change in sensation, including tenderness, pain or even itchines.
Check back tomorrow for a lesson on your ABCDs (of skin cancer, of course!) For more information on skin cancer myths & prevention, stay tuned this week, or go straight to the sources by visiting the American Cancer Society, and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

1 comment:

Qaro said...

Didn't know that, thanks!

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