Some people don't understand how someone "gets" Melanoma.There are lots of cancers out there with no reason for the cause. Melanoma is not one of them. We know the cause.
When I was in High School, I was a tanner. I loved tanning. Was probably even addicted to it at some point. I tanned for proms, dances, weddings, graduation, etc. I liked being tan. It made me feel skinner and gave me more confidence. I tanned easily, so in theory, I really didn't need to tan in a tanning bed all that often. But, I did. Once I had reached my "plateau" with the regular tanning beds I switched to the high powered tanning beds. I remember a couple times in high school I tanned at one place in the morning and another in the evening. Like I said, I was addicted.
During the summer months in High School I babysat. We went to the pool most days. I always put the sunscreen on them, but I never put the sunscreen on myself. Why? Because I wanted to be tan! Duh!
I wish I could say that after high school I quit tanning and became wiser. But, unfortunately that is not the case. I tanned maybe once or twice a month in college (all my money went to beer!) But, a couple months before I was diagnosed I purchased a tanning package. I actually HAD MELANOMA at the time! I had no idea, of course, but still. How stupid. I am a smart, well educated woman, I should have known better. At this point, I wasn't addicted, I just wanted to be tan. I tried the spray tan, but quite honestly, it was expensive. Tanning in a tanning bed was much "cheaper." Ha! I laugh as I type that!
We know what causes Melanoma. UVB rays. UVB rays come from the sun and tanning beds. Even sunscreens don't block all the rays. Of course they help, but they are not 100%. If you are going to use sunscreens please make sure they are at least 50 SPF. I use 85 or 100SPF on my family. I figure the higher SPF the better.
I am hoping that through my story I have opened the eyes of some people. Hopefully some of you have started using sunscreen religiously. Hopefully ALL of you have STOPPED using tanning beds. Hopefully some of you have visited your dermatologist at least ONCE this year. I would love to hear how my story has opened your eyes.
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