Oh, tanning bed. Oh, tanning bed. No, that is not the start to some dumb Jersey Shore Christmas song parody; it's a lament about the reason all the young people are getting cancer. A new study from the Mayo Clinic has found there's been a scary increase in the prevalence of skin cancer in young adults, ages 18 to 39. The researchers discovered that between 1970 and 2009, cases of melanoma increased eightfold in young women and fourfold in young men. Well, that's certainly not good.
The study used data from a database of patient care in Minnesota and looked at first-time diagnoses of melanoma. Based on other research that's been done on tanning behaviors, the study's authors attribute this increase in melanoma to the use of tanning beds, which are a known carcinogen. The only piece of good news is that while more young people are getting melanoma, they're less likely to die from it—mostly because it's being discovered earlier. Though it would certainly be preferable to, you know, not get cancer in the first place. Obviously, the number one thing you can do to avoid falling victim to this statistic is to check your skin regularly for anything that looks amiss and, for God's sake, steer clear of tanning beds—even if it means having frighteningly pale legs at the beginning of swimsuit season.
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