Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Young Adults' Sunburns Raise Cancer Risk

Midwestern States Show Greatest Risk
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

July 16, 2002 -- Despite all the skin cancer warnings, teens are still worshipping the sun -- without adequate sunscreen.

More than half of young adults between ages 18 and 29 report having at least one sunburn in the past year, a new study from the CDC shows.

In fact, states that have high rates of sunburn also have high rates of melanoma deaths, says Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist with the CDC.

At the top of the list were Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, the District of Columbia, Wyoming, Utah, and Wisconsin. Those states with lowest sunburn rates were Puerto Rico, Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma, New York, and Florida.

Saraiya's report, which summarizes data from the NCI, appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this month.

The NCI's national survey involved more than 150,000 Americans; 32% said they had been sunburned within the previous 12 months.

At 44%, white men were the most likely racial group to have had at least one sunburn over the past 12 months; about 40% of these men had three more sunburns during that time.

In the 18-to-29 age bracket, 57% of respondents reported being sunburned at least once in the past year -- the highest of all age groups. Those with higher education, higher income, and more children -- all signs of affluence and possibly more leisure time to get sunburned -- had higher sunburn rates.

This parallels another study, which showed sunburn rate to be highest among teenagers from 12 to 18 years old -- as high as 80%.

Saraiya speculates that those living in non-Sunbelt states -- where annual UV radiation is lower -- may not take precautions during the first days of burning sun exposure. Also, many people believe that an initial burn is necessary before tanning begins.

It's the UV rays that cause skin cancer, not the tan, explains Martin Weinstock, chief of dermatology at the VA Medical Center at Brown University in Providence, R.I. He is also chairman of the American Cancer Society's skin cancer advisory group.

"Ultraviolet radiation that hits the skin causes a reaction in the melanocytes, pigment-producing skin cells, to produce a browner color in the skin," he says. "The same ultraviolet radiation causes damage in the DNA of skin cells ... and that has been related to skin cancer."

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
woman in bathtub
Slideshow
period
VIDEO
 
bp app on smartwatch and phone
Slideshow
estrogen gene
Quiz
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
hot water bottle on stomach
Quiz
 
question
Assessment
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
Quiz