Sun, tanning lamps suspected in rise ...

Sun, tanning lamps suspected in rise in melanoma

There are 27 comments on the Newsday story from Jul 12, 2008, titled Sun, tanning lamps suspected in rise in melanoma. In it, Newsday reports that:

Jessica Shutovich, 23, of St. James, went under the lamps of a tanning salon twice a week for six years until she noticed skin damage and freckles under her eyes.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.

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Arlington, TX

#1 Jul 12, 2008
i would hate to be so stupid - that I ignore health risks!
DL Smith

Tucson, AZ

#2 Jul 12, 2008
There are several problems with this article:
- There is no "molecular signature" linking UVR (ultraviolet radiation) and melanoma. Thus, blaming UVR for causing melanoma only serves to delay the research needed to find the real cause.
- The only current increase in the incidence of melanoma is in men over the age of 50. All other age groups for both men and women show a leveling off or decrease over the past decade. I seriously doubt that many men over 50 are patronizing tanning salons.
- Although the incidence of melanoma has increased since 1950, the age-adjusted mortality has remained constant. If there was really an "epidemic" of melanoma, the mortality rate would have also increased.
- If UVR was the cause of melanoma, it would follow that sunscreen use over the past 30 years should have reduced the incidence of melanoma when, in fact, the opposite is true. So the question is, does sunscreen use cause melanoma?

Lumberton, TX

#3 Jul 12, 2008
Thank you DL Smith for your clarification. This article shows that statistics can be made to say what you want them to, even if it's only implied. However, the article is greatly informative and I appreciate its information.

Huntley, IL

#4 Jul 13, 2008
Has anyone considered that sunblock itself may be a contributing factor?

Huntley, IL

#5 Jul 13, 2008
My apologies DL, I did not read the comments before I posted.

United States

#6 Jul 13, 2008
I have psorisis and uv light is the only thing that gets rid of it.
After dealing with it for 30 years, I would rather have skin cancer.

Aiken, SC

#8 Jul 13, 2008
You do not want skin cancer. Please take measures and stop tanning now! You do not want to be 35 and be wrinkled - leather face. You do not want to be a woman who has to go in and get the cancer cut out - This is not an easy condition to heal. Also, removal of the cancer causes scars. It may not be easy to notice - it could pop up in a spot that has never seen the sun. You are beautiful the way you are. I like to be tan too (42 years young) but it is not worth getting chunks of skin removed from my body or parts removed - like a chunk of your ear. Please respect the sun.

Aiken, SC

#9 Jul 13, 2008
I think people who use sunscreen feel they can stay out in the sun longer. Just for wrinkles alone one should limit their time in the sun - like anything too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I understand that stats may not add up but it does not take away from all the folks walking around with moles cut out of their skin and the regret they are having now...I still think everyone needs to respect the sun and our bodies.

Butler, NJ

#10 Jul 13, 2008
what they fail to mention here is the higher incidence of ALL cancers due to lack of vitamin D and that this increase coincides with the big push for no sun exposure and super high SPF recomendations.... general rule in everything is moderation. I believe researchers say what they are paid to say.... look at how many horrible drugs are approved then disapproved only to find the info published was slanted in order to perpetuate sales.... whys is this any different?? what else do dermatologists have to scare eveyone with so that they can do sometimes unnnecessary surgeries simply to line their pockets??? it is not an uncommon practice...

Fleming, GA

#12 Jul 13, 2008
isn' vanity wrong to anyone??
joe kenrick

Nonthaburi, Thailand

#13 Jul 13, 2008
sarah is a pandering opportunist. From alcohol to other destructive substances and "treatments", she is not on your side.

Do a search and see for yourself what kind of person this is.

Fleming, GA

#14 Jul 13, 2008
melanoma seems more common because more people are getting checked... you really think sunscreen causes it??

Boynton Beach, FL

#15 Jul 13, 2008
I too worked alot and loved being my early 20's I visited the tanning salon 3x's a week...for 5 years!! Not to mention how many summers I spent sunning at the Jersey oil and iodine!!
Starting at approximately 38 yrs old I noticed first was a squamous cell...13 my chin...from there..a few basal carcinoma' requiring 8 stitches...I'am 48 now and have had at least 20 skin cancers removed and the doctor told me this is going to be a way of life for me...I haven't been laying out for at least 12 yrs and they just keep appearing..most damage is done while we are young and comes out when we are older. So please, beware out there in the tanning world!
headlights on

Durango, CO

#16 Jul 13, 2008
Wow, if you're in your 20's, consider how wonderful it would be to have beautiful, young looking skin in to your 30's and 40's instead of leather. Tanning salons? You have got to be kidding; you're actually paying to have your skin systematically destroyed. The most cost affective "fountain of youth" / beauty aid available today?. Sunscreen. I kid you not.

Cohoes, NY

#17 Jul 13, 2008
Tan On!!!

This is exactly what Darwin had in mind...

Saint Michael, MN

#18 Jul 13, 2008
DL Smith: I'm a little bit worried by logic like this, especially when it tends to sway people easily. The idea that ultraviolet radiation isn't responsible for melanoma is beyond me; how does willful ignorance help anyone?

I'm a physicist, and I have some real problems with your logic. First, don't try and use scientific terms to prove a point knowing that no-one will understand them. Your mention of a "molecular signature" is willfully misleading. From what I understand of micro-RNA research (where DL is borrowing that term from) it is still a highly theoretical, poorly understood science. At this point in time, talk of molecular signatures has about as much bearing on this topic as astrology.

As far as your statistics, where did you get them? Never in my life have I seen any statistics supporting your assumption. The only reason I have seen any statistics at all is because I currently work at a school where lots of physics research has been done on the detection and treatment of basal cancer (another terrible form of skin cancer), and everything I have seen supports this article.

The age-adjusted mortality rate has little to no bearing on this conversation. Although skin cancer has greatly increased since 1950, so have our detection and treatment methods. And the fact remains that as serious as melanoma is, it isn’t a difficult cancer to treat as long as you find it before it spreads. So an increase in the cancer rate doesn’t have to be (in fact, isn’t even expected to be) accompanied by increased mortality rates. You might as well say that the common cold no longer exists because it used to kill people millennia ago, but doesn’t anymore: its just crappy logic.

Sunscreen is only effective if it is used: again, I would ask for some statistics here. As a male in his 20’s, I know very few young women that ever wear sunscreen. I do know some that wear suntan lotion. You can’t accurately compare rates of sunscreen use by an entire population (which includes the old, the very young, and males) to rates of melanoma in 15-39 year old females. Plus, you would have to know what strength the sunscreen lotion was (a low rated sunscreen isn’t going to protect well) as well as how long people were exposed. Wearing a low rated sunscreen while you are outside for several hours isn’t much better than no sunscreen at all.

The fact is, we are dealing with RADIATION. Radiation penetrates cells and damages DNA; every time you are exposed to any kind of radiation, there is a statistical chance that the radiation messes up the DNA in one of your cells in a dangerous way, and that your body doesn’t detect it. The idea that increased radiation exposure wouldn’t cause skin cancer is stunningly ignorant to me. If you want to tan, by all means go ahead. I rarely wear sunscreen, as I think it’s an unnecessary pain in the ass for anyone that doesn’t spend large amounts of time in the sun. But know the risks, and realize that you are rolling the dice every time you tan.

Honolulu, HI

#19 Jul 13, 2008
Vanity is wrong, but I did not realize that until I was older. I can only hope that I do not get malanoma, having over-exposed myself to sun for many years(but not to lights in tanning salons).

Marietta, GA

#20 Jul 13, 2008
My dad died of Melanoma skin cancer at the age of 67. It is a horrible way to die. Once the melanoma goes inside there is nothing more you can do, your options are very limited. While I was growing up my dad always wore sunscreen and always wore a shirt outside. When he was young he was not quite as careful. My dad went to the dermatologist every 6 months because of his moles. One place in particular the doctor told him it was fine and there was nothing to worry about. Six months later this place was melanoma and already in his lymp nodes. He lived 2 years after that and the last 6 weeks of his life he really suffered. My suggestion is to always wear sunscreen, reapply often, cover up and definitely do this to your children while they are in the sun. I know everyone looks and feels better with a tan. But I want to be around to see my children grow up and also my grandchildren. I will do without laying out and remain pale by wearing lots of sunscreen.
oh my

United States

#21 Jul 13, 2008
how can anyone be surprised by this 'news'....
Health worker-anonymous

East Stroudsburg, PA

#22 Jul 13, 2008
Why isn't there an increase of melanoma cases as you get closer to the equator ?

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