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Monday, June 2, 2008
Fun in the Sun
I have many little dark brown spots on my arms and a small mole on my chin. I look up at them every day wondering when they will turn on me and become cancerous. Oh little spots, I lovingly coat you with SPF 45 if I go out in the sun or keep you hidden under fabric so as not to expose you to the horrible UV rays that will ultimately mutate your fragile DNA and turn you against me.
Little spots will you let me have decades to live or just a few more years? Remember little spots, I protect you as best I can and stay out of the sun to keep you safe. Please don't hurt me.
Inevitably one of them will turn on me. With ozone depletion and living in a tropical zone it is pretty much guaranteed that one little spot or more will run rampant and maybe metastasize. Sad, but at least I do not use a tanning bed. Exposure to concentrated UVs would make it happen faster.
Have you noticed the increasing rates of cancer in teens who frequent tanning beds? I went to high school with two sisters who owned a tanning bed. They were always an unnaturally dark shade of brown all year long. They were both fair skinned with freckles prior to tanning bed use. Years of tanning add up.
Sadly, the younger sister developed a malignant skin tumor during pregnancy that metastasised. She carried the baby to term but died shortly after. I can't help but think the years of tanning bed use caused such a painful tragedy. She was in her early 20s. Much too young to have skin cancer in my book.
Manufacturers of tanning beds proclaim that their product is completely safe and does not lead to cancer. I think a retroactive study and a well controlled study following tanning bed users who start under the age of 18 and continue throughout life would prove them wrong.
Please be responsible with your skin. UV rays have a profoundly damaging cumulative effect on our skin cells. I definitely recommend at least SPF 45. I use it on regular skin, face, and any exposed skin if I am going out in the sun. I also use facial SPF daily. I am going to fight skin cancer every step of the way and you should too!