Tanning Beds Are Causing Skin Cancer In Youth

More and more young adults are getting skin cancer; the problem is too many teens are tanning.

With prom and graduation just around the corner, doctors want you to be aware of tanning bed dangers.

Diane Horsey, field hockey coach, says, “She wanted to live. I still have a phone message from Maria that I listen to every now and then."

25-year old Maria Whitehead was a standout field hockey player in high school.

Last November, she died of Melanoma.

Now her alma mater is trying to raise awareness among students by sharing Maria's story.

Her mom and her former coach are leading the charge.

"It hits close to home. East was her home. So if I can do anything that I possibly can to prevent it, I certainly will," says Patti Whitehead, Maria's mom.

That is why students were asked to take a prom pledge not to tan indoors, which according to the Melanoma International Foundation is a big contributor to cancer among young people.

"Sometimes teenagers feel invincible and do not understand that this can have long term health affects for them," says Lisa Newcomb of the Melanoma Foundation.

Indoor tanning is hot right now, especially with prom season and graduation drawing near.

Still knowing the potential dangers does not always deter those who want to be tan.

"It is dangerous. I probably shouldn't do it as much as I do,” Colleen Hoag, tanning bed user, “But I enjoy it, it makes me feel good, I like the way I look when I'm done so I still do it."

According to the national cancer institute long term exposure to artificial exposure, like tanning beds or the sun's natural rays, increases both men and women's risk of developing skin cancer.

The National Cancer Institute also reports women who go to tanning beds more than once a month are 55% more likely to develop the deadliest form of skin cancer.

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