Many times, a lack of education and communication can have detrimental consequences. For example, there are some incidents where one might unknowingly make a mistake, but by the time they realize the problem, it is too late to fix it. In Lord of the Flies, the author, William Golding, tells a riveting story about a group of young boys who feel that they are invincible and have the freedom to do what they want. This leads them into great trouble, and even death. Similarly, a concept in the real world can also be seen when considering the use of tanning beds by teenagers.
Tanning beds have become extremely popular among teens, who do not realize the dangers of tanning and ultimately leads to malignant skin cancer. Throughout the years, tanning salons have become more and more popular. Tanning beds use UV light, which tans the skin. UV light is also emitted from the sun. There are different wavelengths of the UV spectrum. Davidson says how UV radiation is needed, as it provides vitamin D. Humans need vitamin D to prevent brittle bones and to provide aid to the absorption in the small intestine. However, exposure to UV radiation is also very harmful when the skin is exposed to UV-B.
This type of UV light can be from the sun or from tanning beds. Exposure can lead to sunburn, which overall may result in skin cancer. Because of the high risk of skin cancer, the use of tanning beds, especially by teenagers, is very controversial. One might believe that tanning beds should be banned from teenagers to help prevent skin cancer at a young age. Davidson explains in his article how “In April 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified all ultraviolet radiation as a carcinogen in humans. Skin cancer can cause a person to die very early in age if it is not treated. However, others might believe that teens should have a right to make decisions about their own bodies and should be allowed to use tanning beds with caution In Hochman’s article, she mentions a quote from Jessica Lilley that says, “As a pediatrician, I’m an advocate for children. I know the salons can be addictive. You’re alone relaxing and listening to music. Even though you’re climbing into this device that looks like a coffin, you feel invincible. But I know what can happen. It happened to me.
That’s the message I want to give my kids. ” Although banning teenagers from tanning beds would restrict their freedom, it would protect them from the extreme risk of developing malignant skin cancer. First and foremost, Davidson describes in this article the effects of UV radiation on human health. He explains how there are different wavelengths of the UV spectrum. Davidson writes, “The UV radiation spectrum ranges from wavelengths of 400 nanometers (nm) to 10 nm. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy and the greater the potential to damage the body. Thus, it is very important for humans to protect their skin from harmful rays. Although, Davidson says that UV radiation is needed, as it provides vitamin D. Humans need vitamin D to prevent brittle bones and to provide aid to the absorption in the small intestine. However, exposure to UV radiation is also very harmful when the skin is exposed to UV-B. This type of UV light can be from the sun or from tanning beds. Exposure to this UV ray can ultimately lead to malignant skin cancer. If basal, squamous cell, or malignant melanoma is left untreated, it can lead to death.
Davidson brings up the fact that the World Health Organization has classified UV radiation as a carcinogen to humans due to its extremely damaging effects on the skin. The reason why skin cancer is developed through UV ray exposure is because UV-B comes into contact with the skin cell’s DNA. When it comes in contact, it has the power to damage the cell and cause the DNA to mutate. When the DNA is mutated, cancer cells may then begin to form and rapidly continue to grow. Furthermore, In Larson’s article, he explains how UV light can cause skin cancer and how dangerous it can be.
The article defines skin cancer as “the growth of abnormal cells capable of invading and destroying other associated skin cells”(Larson). The top cause of skin cancer would be exposure to Ultraviolet light. Specifically, UVB rays are known to cause the most malignant types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell cancer. Melanoma, a malignant tumor from a skin cell, can develop from a mole, even if the mole was previously benign. The mutation of the mole is a result from damage from UVB rays. UVB rays can come from the sun or tanning booths. Skin cancer is extremely serious, and can even lead to death at an early age if left untreated.
That is why it is extremely important to protect the skin and to avoid any type of UVB damage. There is also evidence “that early, intense exposure causing blistering sunburn in childhood may also play an important role in the cause of non-melanoma skin cancer”(Larson). Thus, it is very important that children and teens are protected from these harmful rays to decrease their chance of developing melanoma. Similarly, Salsberg explains in his article how there are many doctors who agree that allowing minors to use tanning beds increases the risk of skin cancer and healthcare costs.
As the source says, there has been an increase in melanoma among patients in this age group. Specifically, the increase began around the year that tanning salons became popular, the 1970s. Melanoma is extremely deadly and is directly linked to tanning beds. In the article, an oncology nurse explains that “during a visit to a school to discuss skin cancer protection, a teen asked her why you had to be 18 to get a tattoo but only 16 to go tanning”(Salsberg). This is a great point because both of these acts cause permanent skin damage.
UV light changes the skin’s cells by mutating the DNA to cause cancer. As a result, the use of tanning beds is only causing the cases of skin cancer to increase. Salsberg states the fact that there has been a dramatic increase of 65,000 melanoma cases and 9,00 deaths each year. This not only has an effect on the patient’s lives, but also costs about “$1. 6 billion in health care costs”(Salsberg). It is clear that skin cancer is prevalent nationwide, and we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves from increasing our risks.
Since we already have exposure to UV from the sun, it really should not be necessary to have exposure to UV from tanning beds, which emit light 10 times stronger. All in all, treating skin cancer can cost millions of dollars and millions of lives. Additionally, in Angie Ng’s article, she brings up a point that skin cancer prevention is vital and can come from those who are not medical professionals. For example, there are many people who work as estheticians or other skin care professionals who work in various salons. It is important that these people learn, recognize, and spread the information about skin cancer.
The article says that “previous studies have demonstrated that the long-term use of tanning beds before age 30 is associated with a 75% increased risk of developing melanoma. “(Ng 2-4). This means, that these non-medical professionals, should really be warning their customers about the risk of using tanning beds. One of the reasons why “melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults and, for the last 20 years, melanoma has been the fastest growing cancer in both the United States and worldwide. “(Ng 5,6) is due to the lack of knowledge that these underage participants have.
If a teenager is unsure about the effects of tanning beds, they will not know of the high risk they are putting themselves at. This is why it is vital that skin cancer awareness is spread to everyone. Likewise, Hochman’s article goes into depth about how being unaware of the consequences of tanning can lead to dangerous outcomes. Hochman tells the story of a pediatrician named Jessica Lilley, who had developed malignant melanoma after years of using tanning beds. She did not realize the impact of using tanning beds until later on in her life when she was diagnosed with skin cancer.
It is noted that “five to 10 minutes (depending on the equipment) in a tanning bed is roughly equivalent to a half-hour in the sun on a mid-July afternoon”(Hochman). This is a great comparison because it shows how much stronger tanning beds can be. Tanning beds are a huge risk, especially to those who are of a young age. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women primarily between the ages of 16 and 29, and of the 28 million people who tan indoors every year, 2. million are teenagers. ” Similar to Jessica Lilley’s experience, I also have a history of skin cancer. It is extremely important for me to prevent sunburn at all costs. Personally, getting sunburn on my back mutated the cells in a few of my moles, resulting in me needing to get them removed. I regularly visit the dermatologist to keep track of my moles. If a mole changes in shape, color, or size, it is highly recommended that the mole is biopsied and tested for cancer.
It is very easy to develop skin cancer if the skin is not protected under harsh UV rays; thus, it is super important for people to regularly check their skin and protect it from the sun. Overall, many underage teenagers are unaware of the harsh effects of tanning beds, which is why it is so important that teens are educated early on in their lives. Although allowing teenagers to use tanning beds is risky, some people may feel that taking away their tanning privileges is disrupting their personal freedoms. They feel that they have a right to make their own decisions about their bodies.
Also, many tanning salon owners will argue that their underage customers are getting permission from their parents, so that makes tanning acceptable. Many teens will argue that it is their decision whether or not they want to put their skin at risk. Sadly, most will say that the tan is worth the risk, being that a tan is considered healthy and beautiful. However, this is not the case at all, as tanned skin is the ultimate sign of damage. Banning minors from tanning salons does not infringe on their freedoms, it simply helps to protect them from developing skin cancer at a young age.
Just as we do not allow teenagers to buy cigarettes, which is also labeled as a carcinogen, we should not allow teens to use tanning beds. This point is also validated when it is addressed that the “WHO moved tanning beds into the highest cancer risk category, naming them as carcinogenic (cancer causing) to humans. “(Goldsmith, 86). This law only helps to reduce the increasing number of melanoma cases, especially in adolescents. If these minors knew the real dangers of skin cancer and how tanning beds increase their risk of developing it, they might not be so open to stepping into the coffin-like tanning booth.
Hence, banning minors from tanning salons does not infringe on their freedoms, it protects them from the evident threat of skin cancer. Overall, tanning beds are declared as a human carcinogen and thus should be banned from anyone under the age of eighteen to help decrease the high risk of skin cancer that tanning beds contribute to. Although teens might feel that it is their choice to utilize tanning beds, their health should be their number one priority. Skin cancer among the youth has increased over the years and has had detrimental effects.
If people are educated about the dangers of skin cancer and how to prevent it, they would not be as eager to go to the tanning salon. Just as the minors in Lord of the Flies did not realize how dangerous their actions were, minors in real life do not understand how deadly the effects of tanning beds are. If more tanning salons make the decision to ban teens from their salons, skin cancer among minors would be less prevalent. Hopefully, one day tanning salons will be a trend of the past, and people will be determined to prevent skin cancer.