Sophomore Victoria Pulley enjoyed the relaxation of tanning, but learning that her father had skin cancer changed her views on the dangers of UV rays.

“Exposing areas of skin that are unable to be seen easy leaves possible skin cancer spots unnoticed,” sophomore Victoria Pulley said. “The whole idea of having cancer somewhere and not knowing is scary.”

Pulley’s father recently found five cancer spots on his back. He worked outside for gas company for 21 years. This devastated Pulley and her family.

Skincancer.org says that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, also one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer within the course of their lifetime.

“My dad had four surgeries total,” said Pulley. “He has a five inch scar on his back. A scar is not worth color.”

Dermatologists recommend doing self-examinations of the skin regularly. Get familiar with your skin and your own moles, freckles and beauty marks and take note when they change in shape, color and size. Alert your dermatologists when changes occur. Dermatologists say some things to keep a look out for include: symmetry in moles, irregular shapes on the skin, colors of brown and black spots, spots with the diameter greater than six millimeters.

UV rays, if they are from the sun or from a bed, are dangerous. A tan damages skin cells and weakens the immune system, says mfne.org.

“I feel like tanning makes me a bit more comfortable in my skin,” sophomore Elizabeth Francis said. “Yeah, I know I am at risk for skin cancer but I’m also at a high rick of any kind of injury when I drive everyday as well. My cards will be dealt accordingly.”

Some tanning salons advertise that their beds are safe. The Center for Disease Control says that tanning beds cause about 1,800 emergency room emergencies every year.

Mehmet Cengiz Oz, famously known on television as Doctor Oz says that the FDA and the CDC both suggest that people should avoid using tanning beds in order to prevent developing skin cancer, and that here really is no such thing as a safe tan from a tanning bed.

The World Health Organization says that some UV rays are beneficial for vitamin D but long exposures can cause health issues. The most common forms of skin cancer are Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer. They are most likely always curable when found early on.

The information from the campus ETMC clinic says that prevention is the “best defense against skin cancer”. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to stay in the cool shade, wear wide brimmed hats that cover the skin from the sun, and wear sunscreen with SPF higher than 15.

Some risk factors from the American Cancer Society include:

Tanning beds

Workplace exposure to coal tar and arsenic compounds

Skin cancer running in the family

Pale skin people who have natural red or blonde hair

Multiple or unusual moles

Severe sunburns in the past

“Think about the life long risks, leathery skin, wrinkles and skin cancer,” said Pulley. “It’s not like you have surgery and it’s gone. There will forever be a scar and most likely more spots appear where one was removed. The spot could be smaller than a dime but have minimum quarter sized scar.”

In a box to the side of the story Include this info “Sun Tip: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at it’s strongest.”

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