New York, NY (May 13, 2015) – Tawny Willoughby's jarring image is a harsh reminder that there is no such thing as a safe tan. Those who begin tanning before age 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by almost 75 percent. In addition, those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
Many people think that melanoma is the only skin cancer to fear. While melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, the nonmelanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) that Tawny has been treated for should be taken seriously as well. People who have had nonmelanoma skin cancers are at an increased risk for developing others over the years. They can also be disfiguring and even, in some cases, deadly.
It’s important that everyone adopts a year-round, complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use.
--Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD
Senior Vice President, The Skin Cancer Foundation