Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don't Tell Me Lies

Don't believe everything you hear....

It has recently been in the news that the government did an investigation into the tanning industry.  A survey was conducted by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Committee investigators posed as fair-skinned 16-year-old girls, and contacted 300 indoor tanning salons throughout the country. Of the salons contacted, 90 percent told the "girls" that indoor tanning did not pose health risks, and more than half the salons denied that the fake sun increased risk of cancer. Many described such statements as "rumor" and "hype," according to the report, and more than three-quarters of salons said indoor tanning is actually beneficial to the health of a teen girl."  I was not shocked.  I am outraged that this is happening, but I know it is happening.  I was happy that this was brought to light and I hope that something is done about it. 

A tanning salon's website that I recently came across, had many such lies on it.  It was so disturbing to me. Here is a short except:
"Q. Why do we always hear that tanning is bad?
A. Tanning is an important issue to the dermatology industry because skin cancer represents the only subject that its lobbyists can promote as critical or life threatening. Unfortunately, in their zeal to scare consumers into their offices, lobbyists for the dermatology industry have twisted the facts and exaggerated many research findings. They continue to mislead the public about the dangers of tanning, whether indoors or outdoors.
There is also the issue of the “Almighty Dollar.” The fear of the sun generated by dermatologists feeds a multi-billion dollar industry lead by huge special interest groups who conduct and promote most of the research on skin cancer. Lobbyists for pharmaceutical firms that sell billions of dollars worth of sunscreens and SPF cosmetics have teamed with the dermatology industry to promote a misinformed campaign of sun abstinence.
Conversely, there is no major industry except the indoor tanning industry that makes money by promoting the positive effects of sunshine. The indoor tanning industry consists of small companies that can’t match the marketing power of the multi-billion dollar "sunscare coalition."
Over the last few years, thousands of indoor tanning professionals have supported an organization – the Indoor Tanning Association – which was founded “to protect the freedom of individuals to achieve a suntan, via natural or artificial light.” This organization is currently working to develop a national advertising campaign that will increase public awareness of “smart” tanning, the importance of avoiding sunburn, and the many positive effects of regular, controlled UV exposure."

I especially like the part where they claim that " The fear of the sun generated by dermatologists feeds a multi-billion dollar industry lead by huge special interest groups who conduct and promote most of the research on skin cancer."  When I first came across their facebook page, I posted on their wall, pictures of my leg and facts about melanoma and skin cancer, as did some of my friends.  We were found out and blocked from their facebook page.  Guess they didn't have any facts that tanning doesn't cause melanoma to counter attack with.  Pictures speak a thousand words. 

As I browsed through their website further, I came across an article that was written in the local newspaper, by the owner/founder of this particular chain of tanning salons.  It is called, "Sun Is Life".  This publication states:
"The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the principal teaching
affi liate of the Harvard Medical School,
recently reported ground-breaking research which
indicates that tanning may indeed protect against
melanoma skin cancer."

WHAT!?  I believe these people twist the facts to suit their needs without any regard for people's lives.  It is for them, all about the mighty dollar.  It is very disgusting to say the least.  I hope that the FDA will step in and regulate tanning beds.  To say that tanning protects against melanoma is sickening.  I for one, know for a fact that they cause melanoma.

The other disturbing faux pas recently, was by the television doctor, Dr. Oz.  He had Dr. Joe Mercola, on his show who has controversial ideas.  He was talking about vitamin D and "safe tanning".  Dr. Oz then stating he was rethinking his views on indoor tanning.  He was later flooded by those of us in the melanoma community to retract this statement.  He then posted this on his website.  Although, we are relieved he has stated that he has not changed his thinking that tanning beds could be safe in any way, he has yet to voice this on the air.  The tanning salons have posted his views that tanning could be beneficial for vitamin D and ran with it.  Another way for people to feel safe doing something that is definitely NOT SAFE!!  Later it was discovered by my friend, that Dr. Mercola has his own line of tanning beds.  Hmmm.  I won't make any assumptions, but it seems kind of strange that Dr. Oz was suddenly promoting tanning bed use.  Dr. Oz also has posted a mother's story on his website along with his "retraction".  Jaime and many others have lost their lives due to melanoma.  Is it enough?  I think he should do a show dedicated to melanoma and skin cancer, the dangers, prevention, etc.  I hope that he will consider this. 

Exciting things are happening.  Bills are hopefully going to be passed soon preventing teens under 18 in many states to tan in tanning beds.  I am especially excited about the one in the state of Michigan.  I live in Michigan and I know there are many tanning due to the lack of sun for half the year.  There is research under way for a cure.  People are participating in walks to raise awareness and money for research.  And sad things are happening. Families are burying their loved ones after watching them suffer.  I have lost too many to this horrible cancer.  I am scared daily, because I have it and I know it can come back at any time. Young people are now getting melanoma, which used to be an "older man's cancer".   There is NO CURE for melanoma. But we have HOPE.  We have FAITH.  And we have EACH OTHER.  I wouldn't trade my mel-pals for anything.

My sixteen year old daughter said it best.  "If you tan, you will be "sun-dead"".  Yep, she is a smart kid.  She is her mother's daughter.  And she will NEVER tan!


  1. Awesome blog Melissa. Keep up the information sharing!!!

  2. It is just maddening to read/hear lies like that. Great blog by the way.