Many skin cancer survivors still tan, skip sunscreen

Tanning beds increase skin cancer risk

Tanning beds increase skin cancer riskNearly 30 percent of melanoma survivors aren’t using sunscreen, reports researchers at Yale Cancer Center. A small percentage (two percent) even visit tanning beds. According to Yale, the findings stem from a 2010 national survey of 171 melanoma survivors. Of these participants, 15 percent reported rarely or never staying in the shade when outdoors. “That some continue to engage in risky behaviors after a melanoma diagnosis may indicate possible tanning addiction, which we are now investigating in additional research,” Yale epidemiology professor Susan Mayne said in a statement. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that exposure to UV light while tanning increases endorphins, which are linked to feelings of well-being. A 2006 study out of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center used a drug called naltrexone to block the release of these endorphins in frequent tanners. Of these, a whopping 50 percent reported having withdrawal symptoms including nausea or jitteriness. Occasional tanners who also took naltrexone exhibited no such symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, over 76,000 new melanomas are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. While melanoma isn’t the most common type of skin cancer, it is the deadliest. Experts say to look out for moles that are asymmetrical, have uneven borders or a large diameter, or change in color, shape or size.  By Marianne Hayes

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