From Suzanne Partridge, MD, Medical Oncologist, Hematologist, and Principal Investigator for OHC’s Melanoma Clinical Trials

May 21, 2021

A recent American Academy of Dermatology survey of 1,000 adults revealed that about one-third of Americans are unaware that tanning causes skin cancer. Perhaps this is why so many individuals, including young teens, continue to use tanning beds. This underscores the importance of patient education on cancer prevention. My OHC colleagues and I are confident that creating more awareness around this deadly disease will motivate people to take simple steps to reduce their skin cancer risk.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Skin cancer is the result of the abnormal growth of skin cells caused by exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, natural or artificial.

Tanning indoors increases one’s risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and the highest risk is among those who use tanning beds at a young age. In 2015, the FDA proposed rules to ban indoor tanning for minors, and unfortunately, these rules still have not been finalized. To see indoor tanning youth access laws in your state, follow this link:

What many don’t realize is that a tan is an indicator that your skin is damaged. It accelerates the aging process and increases the risk for skin cancer. In addition to avoiding tanning beds, here are some easy things to do to limit your exposure to UV rays:

  • Seek shade and avoid direct sunlight, especially during the peak hours of 10am-4pm.
  • Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. I recommend a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Reapply sunscreen every two hours.

While skin cancer is America’s most common type of cancer, it’s also one of the most preventable. During this Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, my colleagues and I like to remind everyone to complete a monthly self-exam and a yearly clinical exam with a dermatologist to look for signs of skin cancer. Learn the patterns of moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks on your skin so that you’ll notice any changes.

Treatment for skin cancer depends on the cancer type and stage and whether the cancer has spread. OHC’s cancer experts are once again at the forefront of finding better treatments by evaluating Keytruda, an immunotherapy, in combination with Adcetris, a chemotherapy agent and targeted therapy, for those whose melanoma has spread, relapsed, or not responded to treatment.

At OHC, we’re committed to offering resources on preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from cancer. While relentlessly searching for a cure, our research team brings hope to cancer patients in the form of the most advanced and promising therapies. For more information about skin cancer and OHC’s clinical trials, or to request a second opinion, visit or call 1-888-649-4800.

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