“According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, in those who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.”
Monday, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposal to increase awareness for the risks associated with tanning beds. The FDA aims to add warning labels on tanning beds and reclassify sunlamps from a low risk device (Class I) to a moderate risk device (Class II).
“Using indoor tanning beds can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD “The FDA’s proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with sunlamp products and provide consumers with clear and consistent information.”
Melanoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer within adolescents and young adults in the United States, causing over 9,000 deaths each year. Meg Watson, MPH, of the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in Atlanta, explains that “indoor tanning before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 60%–80% or more”. It’s no secret that something needs to change.
In the latest special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, CDC authors discuss potential strategies to decrease the prevalence of skin cancer and tanning bed usage. The authors know it won’t be an easy feat; “Preventing skin cancer by reducing use of indoor tanning devices requires a coordinated approach at the national, state, and local levels”.