Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Is It Going to Take???

Really ... I was really going to try to go easy on you and not be so prolific with these blogs; however, it is difficult to curb my enthusiasm because so many different topics come to my attention every day that I want to share with you. And yesterday a very important study (International Prevalence of Indoor Tanning) was released in JAMA Dermatology about the use and abuse of tanning beds, and I just couldn't help myself!

When I read that the databases for this research were last accessed on March 16, 2013, I knew it was destined for a blog. March 16 marks the anniversary of my daughter Jaime's death, and unfortunately, I am (along with too many others) the face of reality where tanning beds and melanoma are concerned.

The results of this study are sad ... no, worse than that ... they are devastating. The use of tanning beds is much worse than we had previously thought.
  • Over 1 in 3 adults (35%) in the US have used tanning beds in their lifetime; 13% of adults in the US and Canada have used them in the past year. 
And it gets even more heart-breaking.
  • The majority of college students in the US (59%) have used them, 43% in the past year. 
But wait ... there's more.
  • In Western countries, 1 in 5 (19%) adolescents 18 and younger (17% in US and Canada) have used indoor tanning, with 18% (10% in US) having used them in the past year. 
That's a lot of DNA damage going on right there!

This new study also states the astounding fact that almost a half a million new cases of skin cancer (and more than 10,000 melanoma cases) are attributable to indoor tanning each year in the US and Canada, Europe, and Australia. Or to put it another way ... JAMA Dermatology says that "it is possible that the number of skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning will continue to surpass the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking in coming years." That boggles my mind!

Why is this important, you ask. Very simply, tanning beds cause cancer, cancer that can kill you. Just ask me to tell you Jaime's story! And why should you care? Because at the rates melanoma cases are increasing, you or a loved will be touched by this horrific disease ... and it will not be pretty.

The facts are that the World Health Organization has classified tanning beds and their UV radiation as a Group 1 carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) along with plutonium, arsenic, and tobacco. The risk of melanoma, a too-often fatal form of skin cancer, increases by 75% when tanning beds are first used before the age of 35. Research has shown us that using a tanning bed even once increases the risk of a melanoma diagnosis by 20%, with each additional session adding 2% to that risk. 

And yet, over 1 million people use tanning beds every day, making the $5 billion indoor tanning industry very happy. For some reason, our cries of concern over tanning bed use are falling on deaf ears. Jaime has even been yelling from her grave that a tan isn't worth dying for!!! Yet the tanning salons continue to successfully lure adults and kids alike into their cancerous webs. What more can we do? What will make people stop and listen ... and think? How many more have to die before the light bulb goes on and people recognize that tanning bed use is extremely risky behavior??? There MUST be an answer somewhere out there ...

Read the full report here (

Melanoma Mama (Jaime's mom, Donna)

Twitter: @melanoma_mama
Facebook: (Remember Jaime) (Pull the Plug on Tanning Beds)
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Stepping into Unknown Territory

Blog #1   This blogging stuff is new (and frankly a little scary!) to me, but writing isn't. I have written extensively about my daughter Jaime's 9-year journey with melanoma, about melanoma awareness, about the dangers of tanning beds and the need for legislation to ban minors from their use. I have filled pages of Facebook, both mine and Jaime's; I have tweeted tens of thousands of tweets on Twitter. I have responded in the comment sections of hundreds of newspaper/TV reports on the internet; I have penned letters to the editors. Over the past 6 years I have shared Jaime's story of tanning and melanoma with thousands of state legislators across the country; I have written and presented testimony four times to the Texas legislature. In my past life (life before melanoma) I was a copy editor ... so words and writing are not new to me ... but blogging certainly is. So please be gentle.

I have lots of mostly melanoma-related topics rattling around in my head ... some are controversial and some not so much. I will tell you the story of my Jaime and how hard she fought the Black Beast (AKA melanoma) with more strength and courage than I ever could. I will touch on my almost 7-year struggle with the grief of losing her. I will share fond and fun memories and the reminders that she sends me to let me know that she has not gone far.

Also along the way, you will become an expert on sun safety, and you may even become an activist for teen tan ban legislation. And you will come to know melanoma for the evil disease that it is. At least that is my plan.

Together we can make great things happen ... so this blog is not just about me and Jaime and our feelings/experiences. It is about all of US and how we can join forces to find a CURE so that no one wakes up each day to the fear and torture of melanoma or to the hole it has ripped in our heart!!!

Thank you for helping me feel my way through this first blog --
Melanoma Mama (Jaime's mom, Donna) (Remember Jaime) (Jjem Creations) (Jjem Creations)