U of L Students: Signing Up for Skin Cancer 101?

by kespeland on August 11, 2009

My colleague Gabe went to check out the University of Louisville’s new “luxury” student housing, The Province, today. He tells me that among the many amenities–such as a pool, a bar, and a private theater–are tanning beds. Perhaps having a relaxing, fun place to call home to after a long day of classes will be conducive to students’ mental health and, subsequently, their ability to focus and study.

But the tanning beds? I’m not so sure.

Before they put on their goggles and slather on the St. Tropez, students might want to crack the books on skin cancer. From the American Cancer Society’s web site:

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps
Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless. This is not true. Tanning lamps give out UVA and frequently UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause serious long-term skin damage, and both contribute to skin cancer. Because of these dangers, many health experts advise people to avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

UVA rays, the site says, are the ones that cause wrinkles and long term skin damage. UVB rays are the ones that give you a sunburn. Both play a role in causing skin cancer. And using tanning beds may increase your risk. In 2007, researchers at the University of Iowa found that tanning bed users were more likely to develop malignant melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.

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