Speak with your children about skin cancer | Letters
Did you know that in 2018 New York State passed a law prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning facilities? Cancer Prevention in Action educates and raises awareness of this law in Lewis, Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties.
Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds and sun lamps causes skin cancer. Tanning indoors is more intense than natural sun exposure. Tanning devices give off a lot of ultraviolet radiation in a short time. Tanned skin is damaged skin, and this damage cannot be undone.
Most of a person’s lifelong skin damage occurs before age 18 from sunburn or tanning. Skin cancer is on the rise in New York. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is affecting more and more younger people, more than ever. Each year, about 4,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 500 lives are lost. New York’s action to protect young people from indoor tanning will help future generations prevent skin cancer.
Parents play an important role in influencing their children. Parents can model healthy behaviors by wearing sun protection themselves while outdoors and by not participating in indoor tanning. It is important to talk to your child early about the dangers of indoor tanning and methods to protect the skin from damage.
The writer is affiliated with the Cancer Prevention in Action program of Lewis, Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties in Potsdam.
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