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Tanning beds

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New research indicates that in a small study in Connecticut, about 15% of people who were diagnosed with a type of skin cancer (Basal Cell Carcinoma), return to using tanning beds at least once over a 12-month period. Says a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center dermatologist, “This is not surprising at all.” Like nicotine, the doctor stated, tanning has social pressures at work but can also be physically addicting.

MY TAKE-…THEY LOVE REPORTS LIKE THESE SMALL STUDIES because the finger of blame can be placed directly on their patients. The study did not indicate the number of cancer deaths that ensued by using tanning beds. So let’s put this tiny study in perspective. In 2000, the last year this information was released (to the best of my knowledge), Barbara Starfield, MD wrote in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association that the American Healthcare system had become the 3rd leading cause of death, behind cancer and heart disease.

Deaths due to unnecessary surgery 12,000
Deaths due to medication errors in hospitals 7,000
Deaths due to other errors in hospitals 20,000
Deaths due to infections in hospitals 80,000
Deaths due to prescription drugs 106,000

I have witnessed political smokescreens my entire life and see this data on tanning beds as nothing more than a smokescreen. Every effort is made to divert our attention away from what is really injuring or killing millions of us annually and it isn’t tanning beds.

Politically speaking, it is interesting that we haven’t had any data similar to Dr. Starfields startling numbers come from the halls of science in 13 years, despite the fact that science employees thousands of statisticians, who could easily get us an undated report. As I observe television actors now begging us to fund the fight against cancer, I’ve just got to wonder if, within that 13-year window, the American Healthcare system hasn’t achieved the status that most healthcare workers believe it has. It may be #1 folks, but not the #1 you think it is.

My guess is that it is now the #1 cause of death in America.


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