Health Team

Skin cancer increasing among young women

Posted July 18, 2008

The warnings are clear: Too much sun is not good for your skin. However, a new study shows that instances of the most aggressive form of skin cancer are rising among young women.

Researchers looked at thousands of skin cancer cases from 30 years and focused on instances of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

The study found that although the rate of melanoma in young men has been stable since 1980, the rate among young women has jumped by 50 percent.

"It shows that they're getting the bad kind of melanoma, and they're getting melanoma in general at a higher rate," said Dr. Anna Paylick, with the New York University Cancer Institute.

The exact reason for the increase among young women was unclear, researchers said, but many experts believe young women are simply tanning more.

"It's not worth it, it really isn't," Ann Oman, a melanoma patient, said.

After getting a bad sunburn as a teenager, Oman has fought melanoma three times. She described where she has scars from multiple surgeries: "Behind my ear, all the way down. And then there is scarring that goes all the way through here," she said as she ran her hand over her left shoulder.

Paylick recommended that everyone limit their exposure to the sun and always use sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.

And for those who want the tanned look?

"There are many, many, very good self-tanning products that are available on the market that are nothing more than some vegetable dye," Paylick said.

Those with a family history of melanoma or a personal history of sunburn should get their skin checked on a regular basis.


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  • gpcherokee Jul 22, 2008

    Tanning beds also fry your internal organs. I was never attracted to a girl that looked like a barbeque chicken anyway.

  • k8ered Jul 22, 2008

    I'm with you allison, I'm a pale red head myself. Just had two pre-cancerous moles removed--glad to hear your's was not. You are right--it just isn't worth the risk people take with their lives to be tan. I have now accepted the fact that I will never be bronze...but I keep in mind that all the other pale girls like myself will look years younger than our sun-obsessed counterparts when we are old!

  • allison842 Jul 22, 2008

    I am a ginger kid (red hair, freckles, pretty pale) and I started tanning before my sister's wedding. I continued to do so for about 3 years, until one of my moles started looking kind of funny. Luckily, it wasn't cancer (just found out), but I am going to go back to being pale. It really isn't worth it.

    Tan skin does look thinner than pale skin, but I still want to look normal when I get old.

  • clover1019 Jul 22, 2008

    im a tanaholic and proud of it. =) GO sunshine!

  • seeingthru Jul 22, 2008

    I think tanning salons are more to blame--the collagen under the skin is reduced hence aging. I know several women in their 20's 30's who look way older than me in my 50's

  • wcnc Jul 18, 2008

    I can't understand why people go to tanning beds....They look like pieces of leather...And then wait until they get old!! Plus, the whole cancer thing....It's nasty.....