Regardless of the rhetoric, if I knew that I was at a higher risk of melanoma because I had a certain gene mutation,CDKN2A, of which 67 percent of all melanomas result from its presence, I think I'd avoid tanning beds AND sun exposure, even if it meant no bronzed glow for me! That is what the advocates of genetic testing for children and adolescents are saying - that kids would make wiser choices if they knew for a fact what their genetics said about it! The down side would be that screening at such a young age might compromise their freedom of choice and maybe bring on worries and fears about their increased risk of getting cancer. It can also be an expensive procedure and is not always covered by insurance!
For Maryann Gerber, the choice is a no-brainer. She began using tanning beds at age 20. For 4 years, she went almost weekly. She noticed that she had a mole on her cheek and fortunately the same vanity that led her to the booths, led her to a plastic surgeon to have the mole removed. She got a call a day later,informing her that she had melanoma. 10 years later, many scars on her face and back and multiple mole removals have changed her philosophy about wanting to be tan.
|Maryann immediately after surgery|
|Maryann in the healing stages|
She has been through too much to see it again in someone she loves...
|Maryann 10 years after surgery|