TUCSON, Ariz. — Summer is almost over, but living in the desert, we know the sun is in full affect year round, which means so are the risks of skin cancer.
"We have plenty of evidence and a mountain of data suggesting that there is an increasing rate of skin cancer," Clinical Director of the Skin Cancer Institute and Director of the Cutaneous Oncology Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski said.
A new study by the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology shows young women between the ages of 18-39 are more likely to get melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 800%.
Curiel-Lewandrowski said one of the biggest reasons for this data isn't the sun, but indoor tanning beds.
"One visit to an indoor tanning salon increases your chance by 20% with your risk of melanoma," Curiel-Lewandrowski said.
Getting Melanoma is more common in tanning beds because laying in the bed is direct exposure of UV rays over a short period of time, Curiel-Lewandrowski said.
"The association between UV exposure, sun exposure and skin cancer is so strong, you question yourself 'why are we doing this?' It's stronger than smoking and lung cancer," Curiel-Lewandrowski said.
She said she sees young women come into the clinic, get diagnosed with skin cancer and then immediately wish they hadn't gone tanning.
"It's that sense of regret," Curiel-Lewandrowski said. "If I wouldn't have gone to that tanning salon, if I wouldn't have gone to the sleep and burned myself, this wouldn't be happening."
She said people can decrease their chances of getting skin cancer by reducing their activities outside, especially between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is most prominent.
One thing she always tells her patients is "rather than regretting, let's try to prevent."