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Skin Cancers Linked To Tanning Beds Costs US $343 Million Annually, Study Indicates

Monday, March 20th, 2017


STAT (2/28, Thielking) reported that research from the University of North Carolina published in the Journal of Cancer Policy indicates “tanning beds can ring up a steep bill – a whopping $343 million each year in medical costs in the US alone.” This was mostly from the increased prevalence of skin cancers including Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and especially Melanoma.

HealthDay (2/28) reported that investigators “estimated there were 263,000 U.S. cases of tanning device-related skin cancers in 2015.” Altogether, “the…medical costs for those cases reached an estimated $343 million.” Additionally, the investigators “said those skin cancers will lead to a total economic loss of $127 billion over the lifetime of those patients.”

Although these are some of the first to look at the economic impact of tanning beds, there has been data for years linking them to an increased rate of skin cancers. It is estimated that they increase the rate of development of skin cancers an average of 3.5 times that of people who are normally active outdoors. In 2014 the FDA labeled tanning beds as moderate risks and put a “Black Box Label” on them banning them from anyone less that 18 years old. The Affordable Care Act also imposed a 10% exise tax on the cost of using them.

We at The Center for Plastic Surgery have been treating the results of sun damage, including that from tanning beds, for many years. As part of this, we have encouraged the use of daily sunblock and avoidance of tanning beds. Treatment has consisted of skin care like the Obagi® Nu-Derm System that also includes sun protection and removal of skin cancers including reconstruction of the defects that removal sometimes entails.

If you have questions about this or how to reverse much of the sun damage you have received, call us at 828-526-3783 for an appointment.