Please Watch This Video About Skin Cancer

This story is from The Ohio State University Medical Center. I encourage all my patients and their families to watch this video.



Experts say kids are tanning – and getting cancer – at a younger age

Some tan to add a little color to their skin. Some say it makes them look and feel healthier. Whatever the reason, Americans are using tanning salons in record numbers. By the end of the day, another two million people will tan under indoor lamps.* That number has doubled in the last decade.* But more and more young people are learning that “healthy” glow can come with serious risks.

The FDA first started regulating indoor tanning products nearly 30 years ago.** Despite constant concerns about its safety, tanning is more popular than ever, especially with teenagers.
But before they get a chance to buy into it, Shari Croy has a warning for her grandchildren. For decades, Shari worked to keep her skin golden brown. When the sun couldn’t do it, she did.
“I started out tanning every day. I had my own tanning bed for 7 years. I called it my “Florida room” downstairs,” says Croy.
Now, at 46, Shari is battling skin cancer. Doctors say after decades of intense exposure, cases like hers are not uncommon. What is surprising – a rash of new cases involving much younger patients.
“Before, we may have seen people more in their 40s. Now we’re seeing people in their teens – people who are 15 coming in with melanoma,” says Kari Kendra, MD and Ph.D. at Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Dr. Kendra says tanning beds are partly to blame. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a recent study shows using them before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma by 75%.*** The problem is, many young people just don’t know how powerful the tanning bulbs really are.
“Even when compared to places like in Australia where the sun intensity is so much higher, the radiation from those tanning beds is still higher than the sun,” says Kendra.
It’s a message Shari got too late, but she shares it with anyone who cares to listen.
“This is what I have to say to those kids. I would show them my scars and my bald head and say it’s definitely not worth it. Definitely not worth a pretty tan when it changes your life so dramatically,” says Croy.
Croy is now working with lawmakers in Ohio to try to make it illegal to tan before you are 18. Nearly half of all states have no regulations when it comes to minors using tanning equipment.****

*Patterns of Indoor Tanning Use: Implications for Clinical Interventions, Archives of Dermatology, December 2007; 143:1530-1535,

**Teen Tanning Hazards, US Food and Drug Administration, FDA Consumer Magazine, April 2005,

***The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review, International Journal of Cancer Volume 120, Issue 5, Date: 1 March 2007, Pages: 1116-1122. Cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation, 2007 Skin Cancer Facts,

****Tanning Restrictions for Minors A State-by-State Comparison, National Conference of State Legislatures, January 2008,

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