According to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a review of seven studies found a 75%  increase in the risk of melanoma in patients who were exposed to tanning beds before the age of 35. A Swedish study also presented strong evidence that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when it begins at an early age.

“Unfortunately, we are discovering more and more young women who are living proof of such research,” says Arielle N.B. Kauvar, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in New York City. “This year, more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. It is possible that many of these cases may be prevented, but to do so, teens and their parents need to take action.”

To help educate teenagers, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has launched a public-service advertisement (PSA) campaign that focuses on the risks of indoor tanning. The campaign speaks to teens in a language they understand—instant messaging.

“This campaign is an aggressive attempt by the AAD to target teenage girls before they start tanning and teach them about this unnecessary health risk,” says Kauvar. “Melanoma is now the second most common cancer in women aged 20 to 29. Through this PSA campaign, the AAD hopes to reduce the statistics.”

The PSA campaign consists of television, radio, print, and Internet advertisements that highlight the risks of skin cancer and skin damage that indoor tanning causes. It was distributed throughout the country in November 2006.

For more information, visit www.aad.org/skincancerpsas.

[Newswise, May 7, 2007]