Are Tanning Beds Safer than Sun Tans?

On the January 17 edition of the television program "The Doctors," starring Dr. Travis Stork, Dr. Jim Sear, Dr. Lisa Masterson and Dr. Drew Ordon, one of the topics was tanning beds. The question was posed whether or not tanning beds are safer than the sun. (See The Doctors television program on tanning beds & melanoma).

As one who has had more than one dysplastic nevus removed over the past 20 years and who lost my own mother to a small melanoma on her lower leg which metastasized and spread into her organs, I have been researching and writing about skin cancer, sun damage and skin cancer for some time, and I have been surprised to learn that melanoma is on the rise; it is the most common cancer for young people; and many of the cases are the result of tanning beds. (See Dangers of indoor tanning: the relationship between tanning beds and skin cancer).

Tanning salons promote tanning beds as a safe alternative to tanning in the sun. However, tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation to produce an indoor tan, and these rays cause cancer. Most experts agree that there are no good UV rays. All UV rays cause cancer and the signs of premature aging whether outdoors or in a tanning bed. (See The truth about tanning beds: are tanning beds safe?)

Dr. Lawrence Piro, the guest oncologist on the January 17 program of "The Doctors," pointed out that many tanning beds emit 3 to 4 % times as much cancer causing UV rays than the sun causing the incidents of melanoma to be on the rise - 2% a year. (The Doctors television program on tanning beds)

Since many people start preparing for spring break, spring trips and spring fashions by going to tanning salons in the early part of the year, this is a good time to remind readers that tanning beds can lead to skin cancers like melanoma and subsequent disfigurement and even death as in the case of my own mother. Avoid tanning beds and practice safe sun to have a longer, healthier and more beautiful life.