lebwohlWith May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month and in tandem with our event next week co-hosted with the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program, The Hazards and Allure of Indoor Tanning Beds on College Campuses we are running a series on skin cancer. Be sure to check back daily for posts on skin cancer including how you prevent and detect it. Enjoy!

A healthy glow. A base tan. Safer than the sun.

I’ve heard these myths from indoor tanning proponents for years. The reality is there is not a single ounce of scientific merit to validate these fallacies.

This Skin Cancer Awareness month, let’s put an end to the myths and get the facts straight.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds to be a known carcinogen.

Evidence has shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Each year, more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. are linked to indoor tanning.

But perhaps most alarming is that more than 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian women, primarily between the ages of 16 to 29.

We can turn the tide on this public health crisis.

In fact, more than 35 states already restrict minors’ access to indoor tanning equipment, either by banning them from using it or requiring them to get parental consent. The American Academy of Dermatology Association is working in support of similar laws in all 50 states, ensuring that young people across the nation are protected.

Our nation’s universities and colleges also can play a role in curbing indoor tanning use. A recent study found that many campuses offer students the ability to pay for indoor tanning with campus cash cards. Members of Congress took note and have called upon these universities to end such practices.

The facts speak for themselves. Indoor tanning is never safe, and it increases one’s risk for developing skin cancer. To learn more about skin cancer, visit SpotSkinCancer.org.

Bio: Dr. Lebwohl has been practicing dermatology since 1983. In addition to his role as President of the American Academy of Dermatology, he is professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. 

Dr. Lebwohl has served as president of the New York Dermatological Society, the Manhattan Dermatologic Society, and the New York State Society of Dermatology, and as chairman of the Dermatology Section of the New York Academy of Medicine.  Additionally, he has served as chairman of the Psoriasis Task Force of the American Academy of Dermatology, and has directed the their annual Psoriasis Symposium, Diagnostic Update Symposium and Therapeutics Symposium. 

Dr. Lebwohl has written or edited several books including the first atlas devoted entirely to cutaneous manifestations of systemic disease, and the leading book on dermatologic therapy, Treatment of Skin Disease.

He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College in 1974 and from Harvard Medical School in 1978.  He completed residencies in internal medicine and dermatology, both at Mount Sinai.


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