The Sad News About Tanning Beds And Sun Safe Behaviors

Primary tabs

The Sad News About Tanning Beds And Sun Safe Behaviors

tweet me:
The Sad News About Tanning Beds And Sun Safe Behaviors - blog by @DrLen
Monday, July 2, 2012 - 2:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Dr. Len's Cancer Blog


Incredulous. Astounding. Unanticipated.

Those were my initial thoughts when I had a moment to read the two reports released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the use of tanning beds and sunburn/sun protective behaviors.

I was completely unprepared for the results of the studies. And I am supposed to know this stuff.

As I mentioned in one of the interviews published on the topic, the information contained in those studies raised my concern and passion about the topic to a new level. And if you are aware of this issue, it should raise your concerns as well. If the trends on tanning bed use and failure to engage in sun safe behaviors continue, we could be in for a serious problem regarding skin cancer and melanoma in years to come.

Now we have information from the CDC that the situation is worse than many of us thought.

First, some of the numbers:

  • 31.8% of white women between the ages of 18 and 25 used tanning beds in the 12 months prior to the survey, which was conducted in 2010. For white women between the ages of 22-25 the use was 29.6%.
  • Among white adults who engaged in indoor tanning, the experts tell us that 57.7% of the women and 40% of the men used tanning beds more than 10 times in the prior 12 months.
  • Amazingly, 9% of adults (that's everyone, folks--not just whites) with a family history of skin cancer used a tanning bed in the prior 12 months.
  • 44% of white women between 18 and 21 in the Midwest--that's almost half of that population--used a tanning bed, while in the South for women between 22 and 25 years of age, 36.4% had tanning bed exposures.
  • For women of all adult ages who used a tanning bed, the AVERAGE use was 20.3 sessions a year. Among young women between 18 and 21 years, the average number of sessions for those who used tanning beds was an astounding 27.6 sessions a year.


Among measures designed to look at the use of sunscreens and sun safe behaviors, the numbers were equally discouraging.


  • About 1 out of 3 women used sunscreen or stayed in the shade as the most common sun safe behavior. Other recommended strategies such was wearing a wide brimmed hat or a long sleeve shirt were way behind.


  • Men were behind in the sunscreen category, with only 15.6% used sunscreen, while 32.9% wore long clothing to the ankles and 25.6% stayed in the shade.


To me, the most important statistic in this report was the incidence of sunburn in white adults. After all, that is the ultimate measure of success: less sunburn, more success in reducing risk of skin cancer; more sunburn, the odds go up. The number? 65.6%--almost 2 out of every 3 adult whites in the United States--had a sunburn in 2010.


Read More Here.


Keywords: Health | American Cancer Society | Dr. Len | blog | cancer prevention | skin cancer | sun | tanning beds

CAMPAIGN: Dr. Len's Cancer Blog