Despite the warnings, Americans have a love affair with the suntan that we just can't seem to shake. And it is quite literally killing us.
Of course, we're not alone in our wayward obsession. Turns out, our friends from the other side of the pond have similar issues.
According to a new report released by Cancer Research UK, skin cancer rates among people in the UK are currently five times higher compared to what they were in the 1970s. Over 13,000 people develop malignant melanoma each year, up from 1,800 per year in the 1970s, making it the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK. And while most of the people who develop the disease will survive it, malignant melanoma still claims over 2,000 lives each year.
The numbers are similar on this side of the Atlantic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61,061 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with melanoma in 2010, and 9,154 people died as a result. Between 2001 and 2010, the incidence of skin melanoma has risen by 1.6 percent each year among men and 1.4 percent each year among women.
Why do skin cancer rates continue to rise? Indoor tanning beds may play a role, both in the U.S. and the U.K. More than 2.3 million teenagers in the U.S. admit to using a tanning bed. And health experts in both countries still have a hard time convincing residents to cover up and wear sunscreen when they play outdoors.
Until they can address thee two factors, it's likely that skin cancer rates will only continue to climb.
Related posts on MNN:
- Teens more likely to use sunscreen when they learn the sun could affect their looks
- Why the sun is my favorite vitamin D supplement
- Why are men more likely to die from skin cancer than women?