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The Health Risk Of Tanning Under An Ultraviolet Light

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The Risk of TanningImagine the feeling of sitting outside, enjoying the enormous, blazing sun and getting a wonderful tan, but all of this comes with a cost. Most people do not recognize there are dangers of sitting under this major source of ultraviolet light. Sharon Miller, an M. S. E. E, FDA scientist, an international expert on UV radiation and tanning once said: “Although some people think that a tan gives them a ‘healthy’ glow, any tan is a sign of skin damage” (Miller, FDA 2015). The American cancer society of 2007 had found and suggested that all ultraviolet light exposure linked with the sun and tanning treatments is the main risk of skin cancer (Cafri and Hillhouse, 532). Many people need to understand that Ultraviolet light has its many dangers, which all have been scientifically proven. Tanning under an ultraviolet light can increase the risk of skin cancer by its exposure and radiation, causing different kinds of cancers that impact many people.

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First, ultraviolet light exposure and radiation have a negative impact on the skin. Additionally, the sun is not the only cause; it can happen under exposure to ultraviolet light in devices as well (Olsen 7). According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Tanning beds and sunlamps used in tanning beds, cause people to be exposed to UV radiation. Exposures to these sources all cause a greater risk of getting skin cancer (Olsen 7). It was found during July 2009, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), that is apart of the World Health Organization, that all the tanning devices emitting UV radiation are more dangerous than what people thought (Miller, FDA). This is when the IARC classified these devices into the cancer risk category that was said to be “Carcinogenic to humans” (Miller, FDA 2015). All of these devices are dangerous, but how does the UV light exposure cause skin cancer? The skin cancer risk simply increases as soon as the ultraviolet light, whether it is from the sun or from other sources touching the skin. According to an article that was funded by the society for science and the public, written by Kathleen Fackelmann and Corinna Wu, they simply concluded from their research that the size of the particles matters. They found that because of the size of the particles of an ultraviolet light, once it touches the skin with force, it can cause the skin to be red or burnt or even a deep tan due to the skin absorbing the UV light quickly. ( Fackelmann and Wu, 360-361) By the burnt or redness of the skin, it could cause different kinds of skin cancers to develop due to the skin absorbing so much of the sun. (Mayer 739) It was once said by Miller, “A tan is a skin’s reaction to the exposure of UV rays, recognizing exposure to the rays as an insult (AADD).

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are many studies that demonstrate that too much exposure to UV radiation damages DNA that is in skin cells, including enough to cause a tan. On the other hand, ultraviolet light has two different rays. UVA and UVB rays are two types of the ultraviolet lights rays that work together to develop skin cancer. ( Fackelmann and Wu 361-363) UVA is simply the tanning rays, while UVB is the more harmful burning rays. UVB is a lesser light than UVA because it reaches the earth’s surface with wavelengths of 290 and 320 nm. (Fackelmann and Wu 361-363) This does not hit the skin as much as UVA does, but in a way, it can be more damaging. They both work together in a way where UVB causes all of the damage to the DNA and UVA suppresses the immune system. (Longstreth, 155) With all of the damage to the DNA and immune system, it causes unresponsiveness to the damage and causes skin cancers to develop in the injured area. (Fackelmann and Wu 361-363) This is exactly how cancer develops from the ultraviolet exposure to the skin. As a result, Experiments were conducted by the IARC to test out the result of the immune system to UV light by watching animals in a natural habitat and natural exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. (Longstreth 159-160)

This experiment showed that whenever the ultraviolet light touches the skin it lowers the response of the immune system to the damage, or in other words skin cancer. This can lead to unresponsiveness to all of the challenges and damage that come from skin cancer. (Longstreth 159-160) From these different natural experiments and data collected from animals and some epidemiological studies that has taken place by the IARC in 1992, they clearly indicated that exposure to ultraviolet radiation is associated with skin cancer in humans. (Longstreth 159-160) Therefore, cancer can develop very easily from exposure to ultraviolet light, and the risk of getting cancer is high. Miller also stated, “It’s well established that UV radiation from the sun causes skin cancer, since lamps used in tanning beds emit UV radiation, the use of indoor tanning devices also increases your risks of skin cancer” (AADD). Second, the more people tan under a UV light, it can increase the risk of skin cancers, causing more than one skin cancer to develop (Olsen, 7).

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the worst skin cancers that forms from exposure of a UV light is Melanoma (Miller). Melanoma is one of the deadliest, most dangerous forms of skin cancer. This is usually caused by too much exposure to light and can form off of heavy sunburns, especially with children (Longstreth, 161). IARC made some conclusions and recommendations from a 2006 review of 19 studies that were conducted over 25 years. Those conclusion stated that the use of using indoor equipment, that uses UV light, increases the risks of getting melanoma (AADD). Some calculations were made for a response of people using tanning equipment with UV light exposure, and proved that there was a major increase in the risk of melanoma with their use (Olsen, 7). Studies in West Europe showed that 5. 4% of melanoma cases are caused by ultraviolet light in tanning beds, or 3,438 cases in a year (Olsen, 7). Research shows there is a major increase in melanoma, but melanoma is not only cancer that is caused by an ultraviolet light exposure. Additionally, BCC, known as basal cell carcinoma, is another common type and is the most diagnosed skin cancer in the U. S (Longstreth, 160). Additionally, epidemiologist Marianne Berwick, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, reviewed during the American Association for the advancement of science in Philadelphia two studies of what BCC is and its effects (Fackelmann and Wu, 361-353). BCC usually develops from skin that is exposed to the sun or ultraviolet light. This usually includes the head, neck, or back of the hands, it is also known to sometimes occur on any part of the body (Longstreth 160). This skin cancer does not spread to other parts of the body but grows slowly. IARC reported from research they did that there was an increased risk of developing this cancer BCC. Also, an increased risk of the cancers associated with exposure to UV light was confirmed during IARC research (Olsen, 7).

Additionally, there was also proof from twelve studies of analyzed data that there were 7,645 cases of BCC a year in America (Olsen, 7). On the contrary, there are other skin cancers that are caused, but melanoma and BCC are commonly known type of skin cancer that happen often and are caused by ultraviolet light exposure (Longstreth, 160-161). Lastly, because of the dangerous cancers that form from exposure to ultraviolet light, there is a sad number of stories and cases that were found from people who experienced skin cancer. Researches say that there is an upsetting number of approximately 380,000 to 400,000 skin cancer cases that were connected with exposure of ultraviolet light from indoor tanning in the United States (Mays and Tercyak, 70). According to studies, there is an estimate of 9,000 deaths that occur each year and an amount of 8 billion dollars spent on skin cancer treatments and help. The research found by scientists also found that there were 3,234 injuries that were related to tanning, where many hospitals in the United States had a lot of incidents from 2003 to 2012. (Mays and Tercyak, 70) An actual case that was recorded by dermatologist Diana S. Berson MD on skincancer. org, showed that her mom had found a lump on her own forehead, which was Merkel cell carcinoma. MCC was explained in this article as “virulent skin malignancy usually caused by sun exposure” (Berson). Before MCC had hit her mom, Berson explained that her mom had BCC before and was effected. She said that her mom loved the beach and would read and be on it a lot, which increased her risk even more (Berson).

Sadly, after fighting her battle for awhile, Dr. Berson’s mom passed away at age 80. This case is one example that shows that the more people tan under the sun, and its ultraviolet light, the more chances they have of getting skin cancer. Another case that had taken place, that was also recorded on skincancer. org, was from a lady named Ashley who had paid money for her tan. She would visit a tanning salon every day from when she was in high school to her 20s, to maintain her tan (Skin cancer foundation). It was recorded that she had stated, “I don’t care if I die from tanning as long as I die tan” (Skin cancer foundation). Later in her life, sometime in her 20s, she had found a cancer spot and had a hard journey with it. The skin cancer, melanoma, spread throughout her whole body and eventually she died after seven years of battling this. It was said that she wished she would have stopped tanning when she was young and listened (Skin cancer foundation). Both of these real-life experiences that were found are very sad, but is two out of many stories that show that tanning under an ultraviolet light can increase risks of skin cancer and how people should be careful. Several studies identified a big relationship is between behaviors and use of exposure for appearance motives. (Guy Crafri, 532-543)Through many types of research and studies that had taken place, it was found that exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases the risks of cancer (Olsen 7). This includes the use of ultraviolet light from all of the indoor equipment like beds, lamps, etc. and even the most natural source, which is the sun (Mays, 70-74).

All of these devices should be avoided by people because of the many risks. Berwick found in a 1996 study, that if a person cannot avoid being out under the sun for a long period of time, wearing protective clothing, like hats or cover ups, shields the sun (Fackelmann and Wu 361-365). Even though, some people say that tanning under ultraviolet light is not dangerous and that it is rather good for one, because of the vitamin D. (Olsen, 7). Scientific evidence proves that exposure to UV radiation is dangerous and those dangers far outweigh the benefits (Olsen, 7). In conclusion, there is large amounts scientific evidence that proves that the use of ultraviolet light by tanning increases the risks of many kinds of skin cancer, and the chances of getting it. As a result, one should be careful at the beach or even avoid the UV light tanning bed, because of the increased risk of getting skin cancer.

15 April 2020

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