Tanning Beds and Cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, on an average day, nearly thirty million people tan indoors in the United States (“Skin Cancer Facts” 2011). What is even more alarming is, “a new study has shown that people who use tanning parlors once a month or more have an increased risk of developing malignant melanoma by 55%. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer” (“Skin Cancer Facts” 2011). If this statistic does not scare those who use tanning beds, it should. Although a nice bronze glow accompanies your body after your trip to the tanning bed, a lifetime of trouble for your skin will follow, also.

Is a nice tan really worth a lifetime of health concerns for your skin? To many, it is because of societies definition of beauty. Society thinks the idea of beauty involves harming their skin and receiving potential cancer in return for laying in a bed for “color”. This needs to change just as much as we need to stop the increase of skin cancer. One-way to stop this delusional sense of beauty and to decrease the number of skin cancer patients is to ban tanning beds.

Tanning beds should be banned in the U. S.because although you may get instant, temporary, tan skin, developing a deathly cancer called melanoma can create more permanent unpleasant medical issues and the real idea of beauty needs to be re-established. To begin, many people have heard the term melanoma but it is important to know and understand what it is. According to the article “Melanoma Stage Three Prognosis,” Melanoma is a cancer that forms in the melanocytes of the skin. These are cells that make melanin, which colors our eyes, hair and skin (“Melanoma” 2011).

These cells can be found in moles usually brown or black in color, but sometimes pink, red, or even blue. Not only can these moles and other spots be cancerous, they can be deadly. Melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers in America, and also one of the fastest spreading cancers (“Skin Cancer Facts” 2011). People do not recognize they are carriers, therefore do not receive adequate treatment, so it spreads to additional parts in your body, and very quickly. “This spreading is referred to as mestasis” (“Melanoma Stage Three Prognosis” 2011).

As it spreads to other parts of the body it makes for a very difficult treatment because “lymph nodes start the invasion process of nearby tissue and form lesions on vital organs” (“Melanoma Stage Three Prognosis” 2011). As a result, “melanoma in the United States kills about 8,700 unlucky people every year” (“Skin Cancer Facts” 2011). Also, according to the American Cancer Society, there is an estimated “120,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year” (“Melanoma Skin Cancer” 2011). These statistics are alarming because we all could potentially make a choice to start decreasing these numbers.

Using tanning beds is causing skin cancer which spreads quickly, can reach a stage that is extremely hard to treat and could lead to death. If tanning beds were banned, there would be fewer people dying from skin cancer because people wouldn’t be allowed to use them. Since using tanning beds is the number one cause of skin cancer itself, banning them should be a given. In addition to causing skin cancer, tanning beds are brainwashing people into thinking that being “tan” is the new beautiful. What ever happened to natural beauty, including pale skin?

It is sad that our society has made women and men feel self-conscious about their color because tanning beds offer a “tan”. We have started a society where kids are judged because they are not pretty and “tan” like the others. As a result, kids and adults feel self-conscious and become depressed, sometimes leading to suicidal thoughts or even suicide itself, due to the lack of confidence they have in themselves. If tanning beds were banned kids and adults would not feel self-conscious about their skin because you wouldn’t be able to tan constantly without the real sun.

Some say that even though tanning beds are banned, people will go on vacation and return home tan and people will feel the same way, but this “color” will be natural. Re-establishing the idea of natural beauty will benefit everybody and their confidence. Next, to prevent people from going tanning government officials need to ban tanning in the U. S. If people break this law, there will be federal consequences just as any other law has. Reason being, there are enough innocent people dying from skin cancer because of the natural sun, so by banning tanning beds we can save the lives of those who get cancer from the beds.

Also, we can re-define the term beautiful so those who are self-conscious about their beautiful pale skin are confident in their natural beauty. If we enforce this new law, people will not feel as self conscious about their pale skin because there will be no other way to tan except by the natural sun. This will get people to realize that the natural way is the most beautiful way. In some states, there have been laws implemented to restrict minors from tanning. There have also been laws stating that you must have parent permission to be able to tan.

These laws don’t work because minors use fake i. d. ’s or have other people sign for them (“Should Tanning Beds Be Banned” 1995). If we enforce the new law, we can be one step closer to stopping suicide caused by low self-esteem, and helping the depressed become confident in their bodies. With all these reasons as to why there should be a ban on tanning beds comes the other side of the argument. Some people believe “Imposing a ban on tanning salons would restrict the free choice of consumers” (‘Should tanning beds be banned? 1995”).

If consumers are given correct information about the dangers of indoor tanning, then they should be able to weigh these risks against their own personal benefits from indoor tanning and decide for themselves if it would be a rational choice. Some say “the government should not tell consumers that they cannot assume certain risks, even if they are willing to do so, just because the government believes that the risks are too great” (“Should Tanning Beds Be Banned? ” 1995). Some also believe that “not everyone develops cancer after visiting these salons, and consumers might be willing to take the gamble (“Should Tanning Beds Be Banned?

” 1995). People arguing against banning tanning beds believe that a ban on tanning salons would infringe the free choice rights of over one million citizens of the United States. In my opinion, the government should risk these unhappy citizens for decreasing the number of skin cancer patients. It should not matter if your “choice” is infringed upon because this new law will be saving the lives of many. In conclusion, tanning beds cause melanoma, which can lead to death. Tanning beds have also aided in changing the definition of beauty.

If tanning beds were banned, we could stop the rise in skin cancer patients and save the lives of many. Also, we can boost those kids and adults’ self-esteem who still think their natural skin is beautiful despite how others who use tanning beds may make them feel. In the long run, we could reduce the number of depressed and even suicidal individuals who become self-conscious because of the “color” of their skin. This is an important decision to make because we can reduce the number of deaths and help kids and adults realize they are beautiful the way they are.

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