One of the key objectives of summer is capturing that golden brown tan and wearing it through the winter months. Often, this requires getting a little extra vitamin D through artificial light.
Since sun-bathing is a bit difficult to do in the cold and windy weather of fall and autumn, tanning beds are all the rage to appear darker than normal.
While it may look great to be tanned for the holidays or before your next big beach getaway (after coronavirus, of course), there’s also the risk of skin cancer.
About 3.3 million Americans each year are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society, and it comes in many forms.
The deadliest form — malignant melanoma — can come from exposure to ultraviolet light, according to a new study.
Researchers from Washington State University recently published a new study finding that ultraviolet light (UV) can be a pathway to malignant melanoma. The study, published in Cell Reports, explored a different connection between ultraviolet light and melanoma which found that UV exposure can create multiple mutations via both sunlight and tanning beds.
“There’s been this debate: how much does UV light cause the mutations that actually cause the cancer?” Lead researcher John Wyrick said in a press release. “Our research supports that UV light plays a major role in producing mutations specific to the growth and spread of melanoma.”
The key finding is that UV light can “induce a more diverse spectrum of mutations” than previously know, researchers said. UV light is often found in tanning beds since it’s an artificial light created by electromagnetic radiation, which is also emitted from the sun.
In this study, researchers irradiated 150 yeast colonies with UV lamps more than a dozen times over 8-second interviews for a month. UV-C radiation, the strongest form of UV light, was used, according to researchers. An estimated 50,000 mutations occurred in cells due to UV irradiation, with about half of the mutations being deemed rare mutations linked to melanoma.
Yeast was used because UV light damages DNA and produces mutations similar in humans, researchers said.
“This has a lot of real-world applications and could help identify causes of severe skin cancers,” said Washington State University undergraduate Haley Morris in a press release, who is part of the research team.
The American Cancer Society says melanoma is caused when melanocytes start to grow out of control, which enables cancer to start and potentially spread to other parts of the body. While it isn’t extremely common compared to other types of skin cancers, it is more dangerous due to its ability to spread to other parts of the body if not treated early and properly.
Around 100,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year, with the American Cancer Society predicting about 6,850 people to die from the cancer.