In radiation oncology, my colleagues and I tend to see “the worst of the worst” skin cancers, those that have recurred despite aggressive surgery or are so large that surgery isn’t possible. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. The two main types are called squamous cell and basal cell. While they’re usually not life-threatening, they can be life-altering. Melanoma is also in the top 20 cancers in America and is the most deadly. Increased UV radiation exposure, from the sun or tanning beds, puts people at increased risk for all of these types of skin cancer.
At this juncture, none of us has an excuse to continue “baking” in the sun. We frown upon those who haven’t learned their lesson about smoking despite the overwhelming evidence that it’s carcinogenic (cancer-causing). However, the evidence for excessive UV exposure is now in the same class. One of my critical points about cancer risk reduction in When Cancer Hits Home needs to be reiterated: all natural is not always all good!
Bottom line: when your teenager is in bed alone, you can probably sleep comfortably…as long as it’s not a tanning bed!!