Surgeon General Skin Cancer Warning Backed By Local Doctors

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Nearly five million people a year are treated for skin cancer, a number the surgeon general is calling a major public health problem. In a report released Tuesday, an area of focus was tanning, stating that tan skin is not a sign of good health.

Lindsay Hall owns Solar Connection tanning salon in Bowling Green. She says the message the surgeon general is putting out may be a little extreme.

"The message we try to portray is more balanced. More sunburn prevention, not completely to one extreme or the other."

In the medical community, doctors said the surgeon general's attention on skin cancer is nothing new. Professionals at Greenview Hospital said protection from the sun should be used at all times.

"There's no safe UV radiation at all. They're saying we'll just give you a little cancer risk. We're not that bad. Yes you are," said Dr. Dwight Sutton.

Sutton adds many who choose to tan usually focus on the present, forgetting about the risks that lie down the road.

"That young woman who wants to look better at 19 with a tan, if she keeps it up the same girls in her age group when she's sixty, are going to look a lot better than she does."

Hall said at her tanning bed lotions and eye wear are given out for safety, but if someone is worried about UV radiation, other options are becoming more popular.

"A lot of people are moving to spray tanning. It's for all skin types and all colors. It's easier for them to go get a spray tan than to lay in tanning beds."

Though tanning beds can provide a large amount of UV radiation doctors say a rise in skin cancer cases may also be due to a shift in demographics.

"There's going to be a natural rise in skin cancer because of the rise of age in the population," said Dr. Sutton.

The population may be aging but according to the National Cancer Institute, the most common type of cancer for people between the ages of 15 and 29 is melanoma.

Sutton said he usually sends one patient a day to a dermatologist to get a spot checked for skin cancer.

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