Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Breaking News: Tanning may be cancer culprit

Attention All Those Who Mock Me For My Stubbonrly White Skintone, Check it: "You're talking about people in their 20s and 30s that went to a tanning booth because they wanted to look better, then they have this quarter- or nickel- or dime-size hole on their face," said Dr. Darrell Fader, a Seattle dermatologist.

I am SO gonna die at like 32 with twenty of those scars and I've never even seen the inside of a tanning salon. I slather on the SPF 30 with the best of them, but not every day. Granted, some days I don't set foot out the door, but still . . . wait, who actually does that? Darn it, we're ALL gonna die.

Man, I hate the news.


J. Morgan Caler said...

Not to be too argumentative, but according to Darrell Rigel (J. of Amer. Acad. Of Dermatology, 35(6):1012), the lifetime prevalence of skin cancer of any kind is a little less than 1 in 5. That means that about 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life (usually quite late). Of those, less than one third of one percent will die. So, 80% of Americans will never even get skin cancer, but of those that do, 99.64% will survive. Yes, it is preventable; and no, it is not pleasant (although in the vast majority of cases it amounts to about 15 minutes of out-patient surgery that doesn’t even require anesthesia); but it is far from an epidemic and a pretty irrational fear.

E.A.P said...

I love it when you start by saying "not to be too argumentative, but" because it usually means you're about to get all brilliant and up in my grill and I'm about to get all creamed by your logic! That's why you rock, JMC, because you're FIESTY.

The danger of skin cancer in general is definitely greater for white whiteys like moi. Also, I have had two grandparents diagnosed with squamous skin cancer in their 50s (treated and now they're fine). Plus I spent my early childhood closer to the equator with third-world sunscreen, certainly not the SPF 50 FULL SPECTRUM I saw K's aunt slathering on her brood of glow-in-the-dark progeny last week.

I don't know the date on the material you cited above, but I think the point this article is making is that our data on prevalency, etc. may change in the coming years because of the record (according to them) rates of young people involved in risky behavior in this area. I guess the key thing to study would be current recklessness vs. earlier recklessness, that is, "our (grand)parents having normal sun exposure w/o sunblock" vs. "our generation frequency of sun/booth exposure w/ and w/o sunblock."

So I guess you could be correct that it's not that big a problem, but I think we need to understand how the factors have changed and what the new factors' impact will be before we can make a final call.

Return fire, JMC?

J. Morgan Caler said...

No return volley on this one, EAP. I was being, as you say, feisty ;-) Yeah, I think that the rate of skin cancer is on the rise despite the fact that I think people in the first world are taking far better care of their skin than they were fifty – or even twenty – years ago. One of the obvious reasons (that I conveniently overlooked) is that sun exposure is actually becoming more damaging as natural barriers to particularly harmful parts of the sun’s rays are decaying (no thanks to the aforementioned people in the first world). While I still think that, right now, skin cancer is (more than dermatologists and reports want to admit) a lotta bark and a little bite, I suspect that the lifetime prevalence will be significantly higher for people of our generation, despite our best efforts at protection.

E.A.P said...

Well said. I guess only time will tell!

Cap'n Ganch said...

Uhhh ... even though it doesn't kill ... does anyone really want skin cancer?

'Cause if it's popular now, someone forgot to tell me. And I hate being the last to know.

If you need me, I'll be at the UV store.