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Study Says Skin Cancer on Rise in Young Adults

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – A deep bronze isn’t the only thing tanners are getting when they hit the indoor booths.

Skin cancer is on the rise among adults under 40 and tanning beds are partially to blame, a new study has found.

The Mayo Clinic reported that over the past 40 years there have been eight times as many cases of melanoma reports among young women and four times as many among men ages 18 to 39.

“We anticipated we’d find rising rates, as other studies are suggesting, but we found an even higher incidence than the National Cancer Institute had reported … and in particular, a dramatic rise in women in their 20s and 30s,” Lead Researcher and Mayo Clinic Dermatologist Jerry Brewer told

Researchers say the booths expose tanners to seven times as much radiation as UV rays from the sun. And studies have found that people who use indoor tanning beds are 74 percent more likely to get melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than non-tanners.

In 2009 the International Agency of Research on Cancer placed tanning beds in its highest cancer risk category, “carcinogenic to humans,” the same designation as plutonium and cigarettes.

Already countries like England and Wales have banned teens from indoor tanning beds and Brazil has completely outlawed tanning beds for cosmetic purposes.

Despite the warning, tanners are hitting the beds in record numbers. According to the Journal of American Dermatology, more than 30 million people tan indoors every year and nearly three quarters of them are women between ages 16 and 29.

In Greenburgh, tanners had mixed reactions to the study.

Kristen Mitchell, 22, said she hits the booths at least twice a week because she likes the way being tan looks. Despite hearing the numbers, Mitchell said she doesn’t plan on changing her habits.

“I don’t like being pale,” Mitchell said.

Others tanners said they have opted for UV free spray tans or airbrushing in order to avoid the cancer causing rays, but without sacrificing the winter and spring bronze.

“I stay away from the tanning beds because spray tans are safer and they work just as well,” said college student Brittany Jacobs.

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