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Skin Cancer on the Rise


"We knew that there have been increases in skin cancer, but we haven't quantified it quite to that level," said Dr. Mark Russell, a University of Virginia Dermatologist.

A.J. Hunter's aunt is part of that statistic. She recently had a bout with skin cancer, but that doesn't seem to stop A.J. or her friend from laying out on the UVA lawn, hoping to catch some of the suns rays.

"I feel like a tan is healthy," said Sarah Wilson, a UVA student.

"My tendency to tan easily is one of the reasons why I don't worry as much. I have had a couple really bad burns, though," said A.J. Hunter, who used to tan regularly.

But Dermatologists like Dr. Mark Russell said these sunburns are what people need to watch out for.

"Five sunburns will double your risk of skin cancer over a lifetime," said Dr. Russell.

A lot of times, tanning beds are to blame for bad burns. In the same study, researchers found that almost half of the cancer detected in women, was found in places where the sun is normally not exposed to like the head and neck.

"Which leads one to speculate that was either the result of excessive tanning or tanning bed use," said Dr. Russell.

Dermatologists recommend people stick with the sunscreen and hats to protect against cancer in the future, but the damage may be done already. There is no such thing as a safe tan.