While it’s no secret that the number of people developing melanoma has long been climbing, one group has had a disproportionately meteoric rise. Women aged 18 to 39 are now eight times more likely to be diagnosed with this potentially deadly skin cancer than they were just 40 years ago.
This rise in skin cancer rates happens to coincide with the growth of indoor tanning, which was first introduced in the US in the late 1970s, and is now a $5 billion a year industry here. People who tan indoors are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than non-tanners.
Young women are by far the most frequent users of tanning machines: 71 percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. Here are the stories of three of them, in their own words. They talk about their experiences, first as indoor tanners — and then as melanoma patients.
Read the personal stories of Teen Tanners: The New Faces of Melanoma – SkinCancer.org.