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A new study finds that men in these groups are far more likely than women to ignore warnings to protect themselves against sunshine by wearing sunscreen or a hat. Recently, the British Journal of Dermatology published research based of 2,215 French people detailing what steps they took to reduce their risk for the sun.
Men vs. Women
The research found that men under 20 and over 64 are the least likely to heed advice about the need to minimize the harmful effects of UV radiation from sunlight. The same two groups of men also know the least about how to protect themselves from the risk they run from getting burned skin.
On the other hand, women aged between 20 and 64 displayed the most understanding of how the sun’s rays could damage their skin and were most likely to use high-factor sunscreen and to wear protective clothing. It is already known that death rates from malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are 70% higher in men than women.
Although similar numbers of both sexes develop it – 6,200 men and 6,600 women a year – far more men (1,300) than women (900) die. Death rates are rising among men, but stable among women. Death have risen by 185% among men and 55% among women over the last 40 years, mainly as a result of the increased popularity of tanned skin, beach holidays and tanning salons.
Since this research was done in France, it may not be possible to draw all-embracing conclusions from it. Regardless, this research does show that awareness of how to prevent skin cancer is low and that everyone should be “sun-smart”by wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and to seek the shade, especially in the afternoon hours where the sun is most strong.
Illinois has joined Vermont, California, Oregon, Nevada and Texas by passing legislation that prohibits minors under the age of 18 from indoor tanning. Following similar ordinances recently put in place in Springfield and Chicago, this law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. The law was passed late last year and went in effect Jan 2014.
“The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of Illinois for joining the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “The state’s willingness to follow the examples set by the cities of Springfield and Chicago, exemplifies a true commitment to protecting teens from the dangers of indoor tanning.”
The Illinois House and Senate passed this legislation shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed stricter regulations on indoor tanning beds, as well as a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.
The possible 7th State
In February of 2014, a measure to block children under 16 from using tanning salons is one step closer to becoming law in Indiana. House members approved the proposal 69-23. The Senate passed the bill in January 30-17. The bill needs to be approved by the Governor of Indiana before it will become a law.
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 2,480 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Illinois in 2013. Studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.