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Con: Tanning beds can cause cancers

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
June 3, 2012 at 1:03 a.m.
Updated June 4, 2012 at 1:04 a.m.


Tanning beds are not safe.

For the argument against this, read about the pros of tanning beds here.

"We dermatologists don't like them," Dr. Frederick Lykes, a Victoria dermatologist, said.

Lykes has been practicing for decades, and he has cautioned his patients against using them since tanning beds were first introduced to the United States in 1978.

Since then, Lykes said he has seen an increase in young female patients being diagnosed with skin cancer that has been linked to frequent use of tanning beds.

Lykes urges his patients to be cautious if they do choose to use a tanning bed, because tanning beds are a relatively new innovation.

"The sun has been around for billions of years, so we know pretty much what it does," he said. "The tanning booths have only been around for a short time, and we don't know the full impact of what they do yet."

Young people are more susceptible to the harmful UV rays found in the sun and in tanning beds, Lykes said. He noted that Iceland banned tanning beds in 2010 due to concern over the risk it posed to young people developing skin cancer and melanomas.

Daren Diamond, of Yorktown, said he is against too much tanning because he feels it is bad for a person's self-image.

"I think anything where you unnaturally alter your appearance is a bad idea, because if you're not happy with the way you are now, you need to fix yourself without any artificial things," Diamond said.

Karen Allums, of Victoria, said she believes tanning is unsafe because of the risk of skin cancer that has been linked to the use of tanning beds. Allums watched her sister die of skin cancer.

Her sister never used a tanning bed, but after seeing such a painful, early death, Allums believes everything should be done to protect people from the things that cause it, and people should protect themselves.

"It should be highly regulated because it can lead to such an awful disease so easily," she said.

Lykes said he believes tanning beds are already well-regulated, but he does want people to choose wisely when making their choices about using tanning beds.

"I'd like for people to make their own choices and to choose wisely," he said. "It takes years for these cancers to show up, but we're seeing them."

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