National Health Care Organizations Unite to Warn the Public About the Dangers of Indoor Tanning
WASHINGTON, May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In light of mounting scientific evidence showing that indoor tanning increases the risk for developing skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, a contingent of national health care organizations have joined together to highlight the dangers of indoor tanning. Physicians from these organizations are concerned about the impact of indoor tanning on the public’s health, particularly young women. Joining together are the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Medical Association (AMA), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) and The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF).
The health care organizations held a congressional briefing to discuss the dangers of indoor tanning. Tanning beds are classified by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as group 1 – carcinogenic to humans, the highest cancer risk category. The physicians’ concerns stem from rising melanoma rates. In fact, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is increasing faster in young women than in young men – and a major difference in behavior is that women are more likely to use indoor tanning beds. Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
The AADA recently released results of a new survey that reviewed indoor tanning behavior in teen girls. While many teens and young adults – particularly females – acknowledge that indoor tanning is dangerous, they continue to tan indoors.
“In our recent survey, the majority (86 percent) of indoor tanners think using tanning beds can cause skin cancer, yet they still think that people look more attractive with a tan (87 percent),” said Ronald L. Moy, M.D., FAAD, president of the AADA. “It is imperative that we reach out to our young people and correct this misconception that a tan is a sign of good health while reinforcing the message that a tan is the body’s response to damage from ultraviolet light.”
“Using tanning beds increases one’s risk for melanoma by 75 percent and melanoma is now the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, and is the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old,” said Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., president of the AMA.
“Pediatricians have been warning our young patients about the dangers of indoor tanning for years,” said O. Marion Burton, M.D., FAAP, president of the AAP. “We are seeing rapidly increasing skin cancer rates, particularly for melanoma in young women, which adds further incentive to promote our message loud and clear: tanning beds are not safe for young people.”
“Promoting women’s health issues is central to our mission and we see the issue of indoor tanning as a growing problem, especially among young women,” said Richard N. Waldman, M.D., president of the ACOG. “Most young women with melanoma are developing it on their torso, which may be the result of high-risk tanning behaviors such as indoor tanning.”
Studies also have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to eye damage. “The AAO is committed to educating people that the eyes are at risk from UV exposure during indoor tanning,” said Richard L. Abbott, M.D., president of AAO. “Tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times what you would get from the sun, which can cause serious damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids.”
As the number of diagnosed cases of skin cancer continues to increase – current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime – prevention and early diagnosis of skin cancer remain important health messages for all health care organizations.
“Prevention is one of the most valuable tools that we have as physicians. We need to continue educating patients about the risks of indoor tanning and encouraging healthy decisions to help prevent skin cancer,” said Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, president of ACP.
“Everyone needs to take preventive steps to protect themselves from unnecessary ultraviolet exposure, including avoiding indoor tanning beds. The regulation of indoor tanning devices needs to be updated to reflect what we know about their carcinogenic effects,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN.
“Approximately 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from melanoma,” said Tim Turnham, Ph.D., executive director of the MRF. “In fact, one American dies from melanoma almost every hour and the Melanoma Research Foundation will continue to educate the public about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, and the need for a cure.”
“The damage caused by UV radiation from tanning beds is cumulative and often irreversible, and the earlier people start to tan, the higher their risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetimes,” said Perry Robins, M.D., president of SCF.
“The AOA encourages the public to make healthy lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to their skin,” said Karen J. Nichols, DO, president of AOA. “And to be familiar enough with their skin to catch skin cancer early when it’s most treatable.”
“The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent,” said Sandra I. Read, M.D., FAAD, co-chair of the NCSCP. “Everyone should perform regular self-exams and if you notice a mole that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see your physician as soon as possible.”
May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention MonthÃ‚®. Visit www.melanomamonday.org to find out how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map or find free skin cancer screenings in your area.
About the American Academy of Dermatology Association:
The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin. For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics:
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults (www.aap.org). Follow the AAP on Twitter and Facebook.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons–Eye M.D.s–with more than 29,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three “O’s” – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy’s Web site at www.aao.org.
About the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.
About the American College of Physicians:
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 130,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
About the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (www.acog.org) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acognews.
About the American Osteopathic Association:
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 70,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
About Melanoma Research Foundation:
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at http://www.melanoma.org/.
About the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:
The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is the united voice of 45 organizations, associations, and agencies dedicated to reducing skin cancer morbidity and mortality in the United States. The National Council members represent some of the nation’s premier researchers, clinicians and advocates for melanoma and skin cancer prevention. To learn more about the National Council, visit: www.skincancerprevention.org.
About The Skin Cancer Foundation:
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. For more information, visit www.SkinCancer.org.
SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology