News & Press
Teens Take a Stand Against Tanning
HILLSBOROUGH, N.J.—Melanoma is the second leading cause of cancer death for people age 15 to 30, and the rate is increasing. Now, the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is reaching out to teens about tanning and its link to the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Launched as part of Melanoma Awareness Month, the “Take a Stand, Don’t Tan!” campaign provides teens with the facts about the health risks associated with tanning. The campaign uses Facebook, YouTube and other online tools, including the “Take a Stand, Don’t Tan!” pledge.
“This isn’t a cancer that waits for people to grow old before it strikes and teens need to understand the health risks before they get in a tanning bed,” said Tim Turnham, executive director of the MRF. “Melanoma is the second most common type of cancer in teens and young adults and the leading cause of cancer death in women 25 to 30 years old.“
The campaign’s website explains why there is no such thing as a “safe” or “healthy” tan and encourages teens to sign an online pledge to not tan. It also features “Confessions of an Ex-Tanner,” a series of interviews with women who have a history of both tanning and melanoma. Links to the MRF’s Facebook page and YouTube channel allow teens to take online polls, view the true impact of skin cancer in the “scar gallery” and participate in an interactive video about the pressure on teens to tan.
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sunlight or indoor tanning beds, is one of the major risk factors for most melanomas. Recent research has shown that using tanning beds before age 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent and occasionally using tanning beds can triple your chances. Last year, 69,000 Americans were diagnosed with the disease, resulting in one death every single hour.
The importance of addressing sun safety in the youth population was recently further reinforced by a new partnership between the MRF and Cosmopolitan magazine to raise awareness and funds for melanoma research. Cosmo readers will receive an awareness bracelet with a $10 donation to the MRF. The fundraising drive is part the magazine’s ongoing “Practice Safe Sun” campaign to combat the high rate of skin cancer among young women.
On a regulatory level, in March, the FDA Medical Devices Advisory Committee recommended banning the use of tanning beds entirely for those under the age of 18 or at least requiring parental consent. Additionally, the committee recommended the FDA re-classify tanning beds, as well as mandate stronger warning labels.
“I started visiting indoor tanning salons in the year leading up to my wedding because I was under a lot of stress and I found it really relaxing,” said Kristi Setzer, a 27-year old woman who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2008. “I would go to the tanning salon every other day because it made me feel prettier and thinner when I had some color. I enjoyed it so much I continued despite the warnings from my family, as my uncle had succumbed to melanoma four years prior. I was incredibly lucky because my melanoma was found early. Young women need to realize that it really can happen to you.”
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and can strike men and women of all ages, all races and skin types. In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, nearly 69,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2009, resulting in 8,650 deaths or one person every hour. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old.
About Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Melanoma.Research.Foundation
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CureMelanoma
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/curemelanoma
- Tim Turnham on Twitter: https://twitter.com/timturnham