FDA proposes cancer warning on tanning beds

Melanoma has become the second leading type of invasive cancer in people ages 15 to 29.

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to require cancer warnings on tanning beds in an effort to reduce the number of cases of melanoma in young people. The warnings would advise against use of the devices by anyone under age 18 and encourage skin cancer screenings for frequent users.

According to Jeffrey E. Shuren, M.D., J.D., the FDA’s director for medical devices, melanoma has become the second leading type of invasive cancer in people ages 15 to 29, and the risk is 75 percent higher in those exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning.

Dr. Shuren also cited research showing that many young people who tan indoors experience sunburn, which is strongly linked to skin cancer risk. He noted that despite assurances to the contrary from some in the tanning industry, a study of college students who used tanning beds showed 66 percent of them were burned at some point.

Cases of skin cancer among people in their teens and 20s continue to increase. While a number of factors may increase your risk of getting melanoma, the Mayo Clinic says your risk is higher if you have:

  • Fair skin
  • A history of sunburn
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Many moles or unusual moles
  • A family history of melanoma
  • A weakened immune system

For more information on skin cancer prevention, call (502) 629-1234 or visit NortonHealthcare.com/SkinCancerPrevention.

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