For Melanoma Survivor, Banning Teens From Tanning is a No-Brainer

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 10:59am

Scott knows all too well the consequences of using indoor tanning beds.

He has the scar to prove it.

At age 27, Scott is a melanoma survivor. Delighted with his new bronze glow after returning from a Spring-break vacation in Florida, he started tanning at age 16 to maintain the look. Getting his driver’s license made sneaking away to the tanning salon even easier.

The son of a medical professional, Scott neglected to heed warnings from his parents about the health risks associated with the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by tanning beds.

In 2010, swollen lymph nodes in his neck led Scott to the doctor, followed by a biopsy. The pathology showed melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer and one of the most common types of cancer in those under the age of 30.

Scott will always carry with him a reminder of just how dangerous tanning beds are —a scar from his ear to the base of his neck. He underwent a modified neck dissection, where surgeons essentially opened up his neck to remove the lymph nodes. 

Lucky to have beat a type of cancer that is estimated to claim more than 9,000 lives this year, Scott has a simple, but important message for any teenager planning their next trip to the tanning booth: “It’s not worth it.”

Other Resources About Skin Cancer and Tanning:

Indoor Tanning: The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Indoor tanning tied to common skin cancers: study, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)