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170,000 Cases of Skin Cancer Per Year Could Be Blamed on Tanning Beds

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –By now, you’ve probably heard of or seen Patricia Krentcil, aka “Tan Mom”.

The New Jersey woman who has an affinity for tanning and allegedly let her 6-year old daughter go into a tanning booth. “The lady in new jersey is way overboard from what we do here,” said Victoria Hurt.

At Springfield’s “Wicked Tan”, Manager Mia Major says she would never let her customers go that far. “Anything in excess is going to be bad for you. But at the same time, anything in moderation can be healthy and good for you.”

Major says her customers have a variety of reasons for coming in, from treating Seasonal Affective Disorder, eczema, psoriasis, or just to relax.

The British Medical Journal claims that at least 170,000 people get skin cancer a year from tanning beds.

Dr. Wilson Mertens is the Director of Cancer Services at Baystate Medical Center, and says booths are ok once in a while, but excessive use can be dangerous. “Most patients who will get a common skin cancer, particularly basal cell carcinomas are highly likely in the next 3 years, to have 1 or 2 more. So it’s not just 1 and then I’m free of the issue. It’s an ongoing cumulative risk.”

The Journal also notes that those who tan under the age of 25 are at a much higher risk of getting skin cancer. However people at Wicked Tan aren’t concerned about it. “Maybe people that tan a lot, all week, every single day might be at a higher risk I feel like they’re at a higher risk than I am. I tan like 2, 3 days a week,” Jamie Dabrowski said. “I don’t know, we’re eventually all going to pass away from something, maybe this is mine. I don’t know, I enjoy it.  It’s my 20 minutes of nobody bothering me.” Hurt joked.

In Massachusetts, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 14 to get into a tanning booth, and anyone under the age of 18 to get into one without parental consent.

Dr. Mertens also points out that there is a strong connection between people getting sunburns when they’re young, and getting Melanoma later on.

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