In line with last week’s post, I will write about a topic not ordinarily covered here on That is, the subject of tanning and its role in skin cancer.

Everyone knows that exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, or worse, from a tanning booth or tanning bed, has a multitude of negative effects on the skin, ranging from short-term effects, such as burning and tanning, to long-term effects, such as development of melanoma and other skin cancers. Along the same lines as my blog post on smoking cessation from a few weeks ago, I’m curious about how many healthcare providers that are reading this post have advised their tanning patients not to go tanning, period.

Regardless of the efforts you might be making to prevent your patients from developing skin cancer, people are becoming habitual tanners in droves. This population has fallen victim to what has been termed “The Jersey Shore Effect,” referencing the popular television show in which the actors show off their chiseled, bronzed appearance and brag about their very frequent tanning activities.

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The popular media both sensationalizes and demonizes habitual tanners for their golden looks. Case in point: Both local and national news has been filled with sensationalized headlines aimed at demonizing the “Tanning Mom,” a tanning-obsessed, New Jersey mother who allegedly brought her then-5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth with her. Although the “Tanning Mom,” whose name is Patricia Krentcil, has pleaded not-guilty to criminal charges of child endangerment, the incident has the country up in arms about the long-term health impact of tanning on the development of skin cancer in children and adolescents.

In oncology medical news published today on, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that healthcare providers counsel children, adolescents, and young adults, ages 10 to 24 years, about the dangers of UV radiation exposure and the need to use protective agents, such as sunscreen, to minimize the effects of such exposure. Click here to read the article.  

How do you educate your patients on the dangers of tanning?

What do you think about the USPSTF’s recent recommendations?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! If you have a case study or a more extended response to this subject, click here to submit an item for us to publish