There has been a whopping 200 percent increase in diagnosed melanoma cases since 1973, the acting U.S. Surgeon General recently reported. As a result, he has asked people to give up or limit use of indoor tanning beds and sunbathing, saying that they increase the risk of getting skin cancer.
The new report has found that around 5 million Americans get treated for all forms of skin cancer every year at the cost of $8 billion. Dr. Boris Lushniak, who is the acting U.S. Surgeon General, said that officials should do more to prevent people from getting skin cancer, such as providing more shady areas in parks or discouraging the use of tanning beds on college campuses.
“Until today, the Surgeon General has never said, ‘UV radiation is bad for you; protect your skin,” said Lushniak.
Lushniak, who is a dermatologist, explained that both children and adults should be taught more about the dangers of tanning. Parents who are aware of the dangers should take the time to explain them to their kids, as a way to discourage them from using indoor tanning beds or sunbathing later in life.
“We have to change the social norms about tanning,” he said. “Tanned skin is damaged skin, and we need to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health.”
Melanoma claims around 9,000 lives a year in America. It is the most common form of cancer in adults between the ages of 25 and 29, and is the second most common form of cancer in young adults between the ages of 15 and 25, reported the National Cancer Institute.
These numbers can be greatly reduced if people wear more sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing when going outside. Lushniak also pointed out that ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning beds are “completely avoidable” and are terrible for your skin.
Lushniak has called for more states to ban minors from using indoor tanning beds, or at the very least put more restrictions on them.