Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Prevention is the best defense against deadly skin cancers [Letter]

Thanks for your recent editorial supporting a ban on indoor tanning by minors ("Ban the booth," Jan. 20).

As a melanoma survivor, I know the pain and uncertainty of going through treatment for that illness. My melanoma was probably caused by years of being in the outdoors as a kid before sunscreen was even invented. I am grateful for the treatment I received at Johns Hopkins Hospital that saved my life, and I now volunteer for the American Cancer Society to help others fight cancer. I must now wear lots of sun block and a hat any time I'm out in the sun for more than a few minutes.

Prevention is one of the best ways to fight melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Maryland's melanoma rate is among the highest in the country. We clearly don't live in the Sunbelt, so there has to be another explanation.

One reason has to be indoor tanning. Studies have shown that indoor tanning use before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent. You can look around our local shopping centers, especially those near college campuses and high schools, and see the indoor tanning businesses that appeal to youth who are especially apt to use tanning beds.

Prom season is coming up, and many high school girls will get indoor tans because they think tans look good with their prom gowns. But exposure to ultraviolet radiation increases skin cancer risk, and indoor tanning uses UV rays. About a third of high school girls report using tanning beds, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, and the numbers are growing quickly.

The Maryland General Assembly is about to begin debate on this issue in Annapolis. Lawmakers have an opportunity to save lives by prohibiting the use of cancer-causing UV tanning devices by youth under the age of 18. We protect our minors from the dangers of cigarettes and alcohol by placing restrictions on their access; we should do the same with indoor tanning.

James A. Higbee, Towson

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Md. ignores teen cancer risk

    Md. ignores teen cancer risk

    By rejecting state Sen. Jamie Raskin's bill to make tanning-salon ultraviolet ray machines off-limits to minors, the Senate's Finance Committee has put itself at odds with every major national and state medical group to look at the issue, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the American...

  • Shattuck all smiles after sentencing

    Shattuck all smiles after sentencing

    I couldn't believe the look on Molly Shattuck's face as she left the courtroom after being sentenced for rape ("Molly Shattuck sentenced to 48 weekends in community corrections center in Del. rape case," Aug. 21).

  • The Red Line is dead; long live the Red Line

    The Red Line is dead; long live the Red Line

    Why not put the Red Line on a statewide ballot? As the funding would come from both state and federal governments, let the taxpayers of Maryland decide the fate of the Red Line ("Md. formally tells US it isn't seeking $900M for Red Line," Aug. 18).

  • Iran deal: Decide with facts

    Iran deal: Decide with facts

    The Congress is in the midst of a 60-day review of the Iran nuclear agreement. However, even before the deal was completed, Republicans in "lock step" rejected it. By contrast, several Democrats in both the House and Senate are seriously considering how they will vote ("Md. senators should support...

  • Trump is a fascist

    Trump is a fascist

    I had to laugh when I read the angry letter claiming that Donald Trump is more like Ronald Reagan than Adolf Hitler ("Trump is Reagan, not Hitler," Aug. 28). That's like saying the police don't discriminate against black people, just African Americans. After all, aside from the extermination camps,...

  • Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Mfume: Sun is too quick to judge Mosby

    Last November Baltimore elected the youngest prosecutor of any major American city, and Marilyn Mosby has brought a balanced approach and a steady hand to the work of restoring a sense of justice and civility to the city's criminal justice system.

  • Dirt bikers aren't the only danger on two wheels

    Dirt bikers aren't the only danger on two wheels

    The dirt bikers aren't Baltimore's only problem ("A '12 O'Clock Boys' theme park for Baltimore," Aug. 27). There are dangers from some other motorcyclists who display their "skills" on the Jones Falls Expressway, generally late at night or at 2 in the morning. Some of these cyclists must picture...

  • Field hockey's history in Arundel goes back even farther

    Field hockey's history in Arundel goes back even farther

    While I have the greatest respect and admiration for Lil Shelton and her accomplishments at Severna Park High School ("Girls' sports power reflects long-term national trend," Aug. 25), I feel the need to set the record straight. Field hockey was introduced to Anne Arundel Country in 1954 at Glen...

Comments
Loading
82°