T Nation

Skin Cancer/Tanning Beds

I want to start tanning for the summer, but it seems like every week a new report comes out warning against using tanning beds. The thing I wonder about is, if it says it doubles the risk of cancer, are your odds still really good? Let’s say the risk of getting skin cancer is 1 in a million without tanning beds, and with beds it is 1 in 500k. I would take that risk.

I was thinking of taking melanotan II so I could get tanned without any risk at all, but it has way to many side effects.

[quote]T234 wrote:
I want to start tanning for the summer, but it seems like every week a new report comes out warning against using tanning beds. The thing I wonder about is, if it says it doubles the risk of cancer, are your odds still really good? Let’s say the risk of getting skin cancer is 1 in a million without tanning beds, and with beds it is 1 in 500k. I would take that risk.

I was thinking of taking melanotan II so I could get tanned without any risk at all, but it has way to many side effects. [/quote]

Assuming you’re not a Ginger-kid, I’d imagine taking extra time to very slowly expose yourself to UV, very gradually building up your tan would minimize the risks. I believe its the infrequent, intense bouts of radiation we expose ourselves to when going on vacation, trying to tan quickly, etc, which does the most damage.

I’m sure lots of people will scoff and disagree, so flame away.

It is healthier to get up in the early morning and expose yourself to some morning sun for a half hour to an hour, every day or every other day.

As far as your risk of developing skin cancer, it is certainly dependent upon the frequency with which you use the tanning beds. But you are dealing with more intense bouts of UVA radiation, which penetrates deeper than UVB. Further, UVB is the primary mechanism for causing sunburn, and a tanning bed allows you to be exposed to more UVA without being burned.

Yeah, kinda like the difference between a gamma ray explosion turning you into the Hulk versus just using a microwave to heat up last night’s spaghetti every now and then.

Do you honestly think that you have a one in a million chance of getting skin cancer?

approx 1 in 272.

http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/s/skin_cancer/prevalence.htm

Try mystic tan. I just did it last week and I liked the results.

[quote]NewDamage wrote:
T234 wrote:
I want to start tanning for the summer, but it seems like every week a new report comes out warning against using tanning beds. The thing I wonder about is, if it says it doubles the risk of cancer, are your odds still really good? Let’s say the risk of getting skin cancer is 1 in a million without tanning beds, and with beds it is 1 in 500k. I would take that risk.

I was thinking of taking melanotan II so I could get tanned without any risk at all, but it has way to many side effects.

Assuming you’re not a Ginger-kid, I’d imagine taking extra time to very slowly expose yourself to UV, very gradually building up your tan would minimize the risks. I believe its the infrequent, intense bouts of radiation we expose ourselves to when going on vacation, trying to tan quickly, etc, which does the most damage.

I’m sure lots of people will scoff and disagree, so flame away.[/quote]

No, you’re right. It is burns and overdoing it that most elevates the risk of skin cancer. Nevertheless, someone who gets a lot of sun is at increased risk of getting skin cancer even if they’ve never burned. Having said that, I’m certainly not one to avoid the beach.

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Having said that, I’m certainly not one to avoid the beach.[/quote]

While I’m not a fan of tanning beds, I do think there is an awful lot of scare-mongering with regard to every day sun exposure. Most of us are not spending hours per day outside, and I think it is rather silly to say that we must all wear long sleeves, hats, and pants or wear sunscreen just to go to the mailbox.

There are several factors that play a role in your risk of skin cancer.

Lighter skinned people have a higher risk than darker individuals. Also people with a significant number of moles (>100) have been shown to have a higher risk.

One of the prime determinants, however is sun exposure in childhood and adolescence. People with higher exposure during that time period have increased risk, especially if they had severe sunburns.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
jsbrook wrote:
Having said that, I’m certainly not one to avoid the beach.

While I’m not a fan of tanning beds, I do think there is an awful lot of scare-mongering with regard to every day sun exposure. Most of us are not spending hours per day outside, and I think it is rather silly to say that we must all wear long sleeves, hats, and pants or wear sunscreen just to go to the mailbox.[/quote]

So, what about tans; assuming you don’t burn yourself to a crisp trying to get one (like most people do), I would assume they offer an evolutionary benefit of prevention of cancer. Do we have any evidence to suggest this?

Do people who are exposed to enough sun at birth to maintain an adequate tan during the course of their lifetime have significantly lower risk of skin cancers than do others?

I’m sure this information is out there, I’m just too lazy to search for it at the moment. One of you say something so I can believe it =)

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Do you honestly think that you have a one in a million chance of getting skin cancer?[/quote]

Exactly what I was going to say.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ID/7875140/

This is a few years old but it discusses the possible cancer reducing effects of moderate sun exposure.