Tanning Facts
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Sun exposure could actually help prevent cancer.

It's true. Studies indicating that this relationship exists need to be considered. Many different researchers have shown that regular moderate sun exposure may play a role in preventing several kinds of cancers, including colon and breast cancers, which claim hundreds of thousands of lives annually. Several studies have shown that Vitamin D, whose only reliable source for humans comes from sunshine, may play a role in retarding or arresting pre-cancerous cells in the body from reproducing. Indeed, we have known for decades that overall cancer rates are significantly higher in sun-deprived parts of the world.

The benefits of sun exposure far outweigh the risks of sunburn and overexposure.

Do the math. Non-melanoma skin cancer, which may be linked to sunburn and overexposure to ultraviolet light, has an extremely low death rate of 0.3 percent and claims 1,200 lives a year in the United States. Compare that to diseases that may be inhibited by regular sun exposure. Colon and breast cancers, both of which may be inhibited by regular ultraviolet light exposure, have high death rates of 20-65 percent and claim 138,000 lives every year. Osteoporosis, a bone disease that can be inhibited by regular sun exposure, is epidemic, affecting 25 million Americans. Every year, 1.5 million osteoporosis patients suffer bone fractures, which can be fatal in elderly cases. Because regular sun exposure may inhibit the onset of this and other diseases, it is clear that these and other potential benefits of sun exposure need to be explored and factored into the equation.

People who receive regular sun exposure have a lower incidence of malignant melanoma that those who don't.

Researchers have known for years that individuals who receive regular exposure to sunshine have a lower risk of contracting melanoma skin cancer. This fact is not disputed in the scientific community among researchers, although some less-informed doctors and lobbyists do not understand this relationship, and often confuse the statistics. What's more, new research is showing that skin cancer is more prevalent in the northerly latitudes of North America and of Europe than in the southerly latitudes, which again suggests that regular sun exposure may inhibit the development of melanoma skin cancer.

If regular sun exposure could prevent cancer, why do we always hear only the opposite?

The almighty dollar. Fear of the sun, scaring people about wrinkles and skin cancer, is a multi-billion-dollar industry led by huge special interests who not only conduct most of the research on this topic but also promote it. Lobbyists for pharmaceutical firms that sell billions of dollars of sunscreens and anti-sun cosmetics have teamed with the dermatology industry to promote a misinformed campaign of sun abstinence. Conversely, there is no major industry except the indoor tanning industry that could make money by promoting the positive effects of sunshine. And the indoor tanning industry consists of smaller companies that do not match the marketing saturation of the multi-billion dollar "sun-scare coalition." The idea that people need to control their sun exposure is valid, but sun-scare lobbyists have taken that message too far.

Why don't dermatologists like any form of tanning?

The dermatology industry makes most of its money on "vanity visits" from patients. One prominent New York dermatologist estimates that 50-90 percent of the dermatology industry's business is "cosmetic" and medically unnecessary. Skin cancer is an important issue to the dermatology industry because it represents the only subject that its lobbyists can promote as critical. Unfortunately, in their zeal to address this topic, lobbyists for the dermatology industry have twisted the facts, exaggerated research findings and misled the public.

So is skin cancer a concern then?

Absolutely. But it is a concern that professional indoor tanning facilities feel they are addressing effectively by teaching people to tan intelligently indoors and outdoors. We feel the marketing hype behind the sun-scare message has blown the concern about this issue out of whack and has completely ignored the positive aspects of regular moderate sun exposure.

Indoor tanning is helping to reduce the incidence of sunburn.

It's true. One industry study has shown that indoor tanners, are 81 percent less likely to sunburn indoors or outside than non-tanners. That's because tanning salons are playing a lead role in educating people that moderate tanning is okay and sunburn should be avoided. The impractical message of sun abstinence promoted by the "sun-scare coalition" is totally ineffective, people are not going to hide from sunshine. Indeed, the American Academy of Dermatology reported in 1997 that sunburn incidence has increased nine percent in the past 10 years, despite all-out efforts of sun-scare industries to warn people about the dangers of overexposure. In that same time period, sunburn incidence among indoor tanners has declined. It is the non-tanners who are doing most of the burning. Given that reality, teaching people who can tan the principles of smart tanning is most practical.


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Broken Arrow, Ok. 74014