New skin cancer warning from U.S. Surgeon General


by Jay Crandall

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Should indoor tanning beds have warnings about cancer risks?

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Surgeon General is jumping into the fight to save your skin.

The nations top doctor is warning that skin cancer is a "major public health problem."

Top valley dermatologist Dr. Betty Hinderks Davis with Banner Health, could not agree more.

"It is a major health problem, skin cancer is an epidemic right now, it is increasing every year, and not just basal cell and squamous cell which typically occur in our older population, we are actually seeing them in our younger population now too; but also the incidence of melanoma is increasing."

The surgeon general is urging people, especially in sunny climates like Arizona to use sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing when outside.

But a major concern is not the sun, it's tanning beds, something Hinderks Davis says people need to be aware of, "I think, it is a misconception but people are seeing those as a safer alternative, tanning beds typically use a lot of UVA, UVA penetrates deeper into the skin, many people see that safer because they don't burn. But UVA can also cause melanoma, squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma."

Davis also says, those cancers are turning up in younger patients.

She urges anyone who notices changes in their skin to see a doctor immediately.

The Surgeon General  wants to see more states ban use of tanning beds by minors.

Currently in Arizona those under 18 need parental consent.