Skin Cancer Soars Among Young Adults

Researchers blame tanning beds
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2012 11:16 AM CDT
Skin Cancer Soars Among Young Adults
Tanning booths may be to blame for the rise in young adult skin cancer.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Researchers expected a rise in skin cancer among young women—but they didn't expect this: Between 1970 and 2009, melanoma became eight times more common among women 18 to 39 and four times higher among men in that age group, Time reports. "There is currently a melanoma epidemic in the US, particularly in young women and middle-aged men," notes a Mayo Clinic dermatologist and researcher involved in the study. The increase among women is likely tied to tanning salons, the experts say.

"Tanning beds can give you seven times the dose of UV radiation as the sun," the dermatologist notes, "but young adults are still going." Indeed, the scientists back a ban on tanning beds, which have been labeled carcinogens by an international cancer group. But that's "like trying to ban cigarettes, it’s very hard," the researcher acknowledges. While skin cancer rates are up, mortality rates are actually getting better. So keep an eye on your skin with self-exams, the researchers say. Click through for guidelines. (More skin cancer stories.)

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