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Are the elderly at a high risk for skin cancer?

Susan Evans
Dermatology
Sun abuse is not the only reason seniors are at a higher risk for melanoma in our society. Another reason can be due to the introduction of the tanning bed, which was brought to the United States in 1978 and remained unregulated until 1988. Tanning bed laws were again updated in 1999. As popular as tanning beds are in the United States, they have an even higher usage rate in Europe where there is less natural sun exposure.

Hopefully, the public's raised awareness of sun protection and tanning bed regulations will help reverse the rate of increase for skin cancer. This should lead to a decrease in occurrences for future generations of seniors. Following precautionary guidelines such as wearing sunscreen, using proper cover-ups, like hats and sunglasses, and seeking shade instead of direct sunlight can help people reduce their risk to skin damage now. This will reduce their risk to melanoma later. In the meantime, seniors should arrange for regular skin cancer screenings with their doctors and educate themselves on what types of skin changes for which to be vigilant.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.