The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal

MAY 2015

The 2012 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal features medically reviewed, reader-friendly articles such as tanning, the increasing incidence of skin cancer diagnoses among young women, & the prevalence of melanoma among white males over 50.

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Page 49 of 115

The Communications major had tried tanning beds a few times in high school before her senior prom, but in college she developed a full-fledged bronzing habit. Naturally pale-skinned, she went for twice-weekly tanning sessions with her girlfriends, using an unlimited tanning pass debited monthly to her student account. "Looking back, I see they made it easy for students to tan," says McClanahan, now 26. "If a sorority formal or dance was coming up, I wanted to be darker to look nice in a dress. I thought it made me look better. But now I look at pictures of myself from then, and I see I was bright orange or burnt." For many young adults, using UV tanning devices is firmly rooted in college culture. Despite the well-established link between tanning beds and skin cancer, more than half of all US college students have tried these devices at least once, according to a 2014 meta-analysis published in JAMA Dermatology. 1 Young white females ages 18-25 are among the most vulnerable: 2 they are the most frequent tanners, and their skin cancer rate has been rising rapidly. In young people ages 15 to 39, melanoma incidence among females more than doubled between 1973 and 2004. 3 THE PRESSURE TO BE PRETTY When young women are living away from home for the first time, and the pressure to fit in and feel beautiful is strongest, many coeds become habitual indoor tanners. Whether it's to achieve a so-called "base tan" before spring break or maintain a glow for campus formals, the lure of tanning is constant. In a 2014 survey of sorority members at the University of North Carolina, 45% of respondents had used tan- ning beds. 4 Asked why, the young women said they did it to improve their appearance (to look thinner and more toned, and to hide skin imperfections); many also reported that it reduced stress and relaxed them. A majority of the students admitted knowing the health risks, but tanned anyway. Figure 1-2: Courtney McClanahan Former college tanner Courtney McClanahan points to the basal cell carcinoma (BCC) on her forehead. She shared the photo with friends on the social media site Instagram. By sharing her experience on social media, McClanahan said she inspired others to have their skin checked. 48 HARD LESSONS LEARNED | FOR MANY IN COLLEGE, TANNING IS AN ADDICTION When Courtney McClanahan enrolled as a freshman in college in 2006, she was impressed by her school's newly renovated, state-of-the-art recreation center with a hot tub, steam room, smoothie bar and ultraviolet (UV) tanning salon. "It had everything you wanted in one place," McClanahan recalls. College

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