Tanning salons drag a pink herring.
You know how I feel about all the corporations selling pink stuff related to breast cancer… annoyed to put it mildly. For example, even though breast cancer patients are told to avoid wine, you can buy wine with a pink label that is supposed to make you feel better about breast cancer — presumably if you drink enough of it. It begs the question: Are they trying to raise enough money to save the lives of the women whose health they’ve already ruined? But pink wine labels pale in comparison to the latest pink campaign run by tanning salons.
It’s called “D-Feat Breast Cancer,” and is likely to be posted on a nice pink sign in the window of your local tanning salon. The purpose is to have tanners donate money toward research into how vitamin D can reduce the risk of breast cancer. While I think that there might be a connection, and that the connection deserves research, the tanning salons are obviously trying to use a curtain of pink ribbons to obscure their own contribution to another terrible form of cancer — malignant melanoma.
Studies show that tanning in a salon can significantly increase your chance of getting malignant melanoma. Further, malignant melanoma is quickly rising to the top of the chart for deaths caused by cancer.
D-Feat justifies itself on the premise that tanning generates vitamin D through the skin, vitamin D might reduce breast cancer deaths, therefore tanning is healthy. D-Feat also notes that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in North America, which is about 45 times more cancer deaths than those caused by non-melanoma skin cancer.
Please note that they specify non-melanoma skin cancer. Here are some statistics to note. There are over 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in the US per year, and 2,900 deaths. Much non-melanoma skin cancer can be treated during a single visit to the doctor’s office. By way of contrast, there are about 69,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed in the US per year, and about 9,000 deaths.
So I re-iterate. Think carefully before you support a “pink” cause. Many organizations are trying to cover their own smelly trails by dragging a pink herring.
And if you want to know if you’re low in vitamin D, you can get a blood test and take supplements if you need them. Stay away from the tanning salon.
A couple of updates about me. First, I’ve been fighting a cold, so I’m behind in emails and answering comments. I’m feeling better now, though, so I’ll be catching up soon. Second, I had my first Avastin treatment last Friday. I seem to be doing fine. Third, I no longer require pre-meds for chemo so I won’t be too sleepy to drive myself home. Yay! So, I don’t need any more rides, but anyone is free to visit me.
Finally, a couple of people have commented about my reference in my last post to having a terminal illness. I do. I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Unless I get into some sort of accident or die of some other sudden illness (or old age!), then this will kill me. Frankly, I don’t think it will, but I could be wrong. Plenty of you are praying that it won’t.
Please keep in mind that there are terminal illnesses and TERMINAL ILLNESSES. For example, some people live with diabetes (which is terminal) for one or two years before it “gets” them; others live for 80 years. Maybe a better way is to think of this as a chronic condition. It might go into remission and not bother me for quite a long time, during which time many new treatments could be developed. Given its previous slow-moving behavior, it’s likely to be that way….. as long as I take my vitamin D, eh?