A recent American Academy of Dermatology survey found that a majority of women aged 18 to 34 years responded that “that there is no such thing as a healthy tan” and that skin cancer can be deadly.
“Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the second most common cancer in young women, and we believe this may be in part to their tanning habits,” Elizabeth S. Martin, MD, FAAD, chair of the AAD Council on Communications, stated in a press release. “Exposure to UV radiation, whether it’s from the sun or an indoor tanning device, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Women need to take their knowledge and turn it into action by protecting themselves from the sun and staying out of tanning beds.”
In the survey, there were 71 percent of the women in the age group who knew that tans are not healthy, while 66 percent reported that getting a base tan is not a healthy way to protect from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, according to the release. There were 98 percent of respondents who knew that skin cancer could be deadly.
The AAD has released a new skin cancer public service announced called “Arms,” which features two young women who compare tans at various stages of their lives. The PSA ends with the friends in the hospital as one friend revels she has advanced stage melanoma, according to the release.
During the PSA, the friend who develops melanoma is shown to have a mole that gets larger and darker with the passage of time, demonstrating the importance of monitoring skin for suspicious spots, the AAD reported.
“Early detection is vital in the fight against skin cancer, so everyone should regularly perform skin self-exams,” Martin stated in the release.
Martin added that a dermatologist should be contacted to examine any irregular spots on the skin or anything that itches or bleeds.