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Tanning Beds Associated with Skin Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRAC) released a report that concludes, unequivocally, that tanning beds are associated with skin cancer.  The IARC gathered an international group to review all the available data related to indoor tanning.  The existing data regarding tanning beds and skin cancer was inconsistent, and researchers provide these explanations: the measurements of indoor UV rays are imprecise and early studies on the link between indoor UV exposure and skin cancer were not able to detect long-term associations. The panel made the following conclusions:

Based on these findings, the study recommends restricting access to artificial tanning facilities for minors.


Source: Sunbed use in youth unequivocally associated with skin cancer. International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO Press Release N 17. 11/29/2006

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Sun Avoidance and Sun Protection Still on Top

The American Academy of Dermatology published a review of melanoma chemoprevention studies.  Researchers conducted a narrative review of recent literature concerning the effectiveness of several chemoprevention agents against the occurrence and recurrence of melanoma skin cancer.  Chemoprevention is the use of natural or synthetic substances to reduce the risk of developing cancer.  The agents studied in the literature included sunscreen, NSAIDs, cholesterol lowering drugs, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, beta carotene, ginseng, and lycopene flavonoids, among others. 


Most of the studies being conducted on these chemoprevention agents are still in the preclinical stages.  Researchers concluded that there is not sufficient evidence suggesting the effectiveness of any of these chemoprevention agents in preventing melanoma skin cancer.  For this reason, they suggest that sun avoidance and sun protective clothing remain the best form of melanoma skin cancer prevention for high risk individuals.


Source: Francis SO, Mahlberg MJ, Johnson KR Ming ME, Dellavalle RP.  Melanoma chemoprevention.  J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55:849-61

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Wisconsin promotes sun safety in school districts

The EPAs SunWise program is designed to help schools educate children in grades K-8 and their families about sun safety. It is the most widely used health education program in the US. 


The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that 59,940 US men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma, 1,070 of those are expected to be in WI. 


On May 15th, Wisconsin State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster as well as representatives from the EPA, the Wisconsin Dept of Health and Family Services, and Wisconsins Comprehensive Cancer Control Program presented third graders from a Wisconsin elementary school with a special lesson in sun safety.  These organizations have teamed up to kick off a statewide effort to bring SunWise to every elementary school in the state.  Despite the damage caused by UV radiation, fewer than 33% of people practice sun safety measures.  The behaviors encouraged by SunWise can significantly reduce the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.




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