Jim Rice loved the way tanning made him look and feel, that is, until he became personally affected by the dangers that came with the frivolous glitz and glamour of a nice tan.
Artificial tanning has become a sub-culture for youths across the nation. Those who do not go tanning are a minority and those who do tan ignore the health risks posted in every tanning booth and bed in the state of Massachusetts. However, for Jim Rice, a middler chemical engineering major at Northeastern University, the health risks of tanning transformed into a frightening reality.
"Recreational tanning was always the hip thing to do back in high school," said Rice. "But when I started to notice skin discoloration on my lower hip during my senior year of high school it wasn't so hip anymore."
When doctors told Rice that he had pre-cancerous cells in existing moles he didn't think much of it. He figured that he would have the moles removed and his worries would be over.
"I got the most perplexed when my dermatologist told me to stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen at all times," said Rice. It was as if being tan was more of a priority than his health. Following his initial surgery, Rice had to pay a trip to his skin doctor every six months. Upon his first visit back to the doctor, Rice was diagnosed with two cancerous growths - one pre-cancerous and one cancerous. Another surgery would have to take place immediately. Suddenly, Rice looked back on his frequent tanning salon habits and his "darkness" competitions with fellow lifeguards over the summers in utter regret.
Rice has had seven surgeries since. He had plastic surgery to help reduce the scarring on his body. His doctors placed him on an extremely high risk for malignant melanoma, which is viewed as one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer. Perpetual trips to the skin doctor and thorough observation of his epidermis on a daily basis is necessary in avoiding the spread of more cancerous growths. No one can prove that tanning caused these recurrent growths, but Rice is aware that it was most likely his tanning rituals that have caused the mayhem. Every day of his life is a reminder of the danger of UV overexposure, and he has the potential of a skin cancer outbreak constantly hanging over his head.
The argument exists that artificial tanning is no worse than that of the real sun. This may be true; ultraviolet rays are existent in both. Though putting your unclothed body two inches away from these artificial beaming rays does not help matters. Additionally, a majority of people who go in tanning beds and booths use amplifiers rather than sunscreen. It is hard to ignore the hemp cremes, intensifying bronzers, tanning accelerators, and a multitude of other various flashy tanning products when entering a tanning salon. Thus, people who artificially tan place themselves at a top-notch risk.
The National Cancer Institute suggests that sun exposure should be reduced by...