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MFNE Offers No-tanning Pledge Contest for Students

Posted: February 9, 2010

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“I really had no idea how stupid I was being by going to tanning salons and lying out in the sun,” says Pedroia “I was literally dancing with melanoma at my senior prom, and I get chills when I think about it. I don’t want anyone to hear the diagnosis I heard when I was 18: You have a life-threatening melanoma and we will have to operate to remove it along with the lymph nodes in your thigh.”

According to Michael Atkins, MD, director of biologic and cutaneous oncology at Boston’s Deaconess-Beth Israel Hospital, there is a lot of misinformation about tanning and melanoma. “Let’s dispel the myth that tanning is safe,” says Atkins “Recently, the World Health Organization classified ultraviolet radiation as a Class 1 cancer-causing agent, in the same category as tobacco. Tanning beds put out three to six times the amount of radiation given off by the sun.” Atkins sits on the foundation’s Medical Advisory Board.

The foundation’s executive director, Deb Girard says, “We have a pledge program and a contest with great prizes to help spread the word, including airline tickets, cash awards, gift certificates, a pizza party for 50, tickets to Six Flags New England and more.

“During the long winter months, young people are using tanning beds in record numbers. Don’t be fooled; the ultraviolet rays from tanning are stronger than the sun, and we now have data that says they cause skin cancer and melanoma.”

During the next few months, the foundation will be sending melanoma survivors to speak at schools throughout New England to draw attention to Your Skin Is In. They will tell their stories, urge teens to forget about tanning, and get students to join the No-tanning Pledge program and enter the contest.