Skin Cancer Risk From Tanning, Sunbathing Worse Than Previously Thought

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study Finds.

The risk of getting skin cancer from tanning beds or sunbathing appears to be much worse than many think. Scientists at Washington State University say exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light triggers multiple mutations.

The study finds exposure to DNA-damaging ultraviolet light used in tanning beds could cause malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Their research also discovered a single intense dose of ultraviolet-B radiation, coming in sunlight, is enough to cause abnormal mutations.

While UV light has been linked to skin cancer for some time, researchers are still learning about how damaging it can be. UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, which comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds.

“There’s been this debate: how much does UV light cause the mutations that actually cause the cancer? Our research supports that UV light plays a major role in producing mutations specific to the growth and spread of melanoma,” says study co-author Professor John Wyrick, of the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in a university release.

UV light from the sun or tanning lamps damage human DNA, producing mutations, which can trigger cancerous growths. The same is true in baker’s yeast, making it an “excellent” guinea pig to study how dangerous these mutations are.

For the study, researchers irradiated 150 yeast colonies with UV lamps 15 times for eight seconds over the course of a month. Genome sequencing then helped to identify an estimated 50,000 mutations in the yeast cells’ DNA. The study finds about half the mutations in the irradiated cells are rare mutations with a link to melanoma.

The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, raise important questions surrounding the safety of tanning, be it in a sun-bed or outdoors.

Source: Study Finds

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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