On-campus tanning booths create perception of endorsement, Pagoto tells Boston Globe

Research found easy, widespread access to tanning beds at U.S. colleges despite skin cancer risks

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

May 27, 2015
  Sherry Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine
  Behavioral psychologist Sherry Pagoto, PhD, is taking part in a campaign to encourage colleges to reduce easy access to tanning beds on or near campus.

Behavioral psychologist Sherry Pagoto, PhD, is taking part in a campaign to encourage colleges to reduce easy access to tanning beds on or near campus, according to a May 27 Boston Globe story. Tanning beds are linked to an alarming increase in melanoma among young people. Some local campuses are responding with policy changes, the Globe reports.

Dr. Pagoto, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, published a study in JAMA Dermatology that found 48 percent of U.S. News and World Report’s 125 top colleges had indoor tanning facilities either on campus or in off-campus housing surrounding the schools. On May 20, she was a panelist at a forum presented by the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Program and Disruptive Women in Health Care in Washington, D.C., to call attention to the issue. She joined other speakers, including a melanoma survivor, to highlight why tanning beds are a pressing problem across college and university campuses.

“I doubt there’s a university that’s intentionally doing something they know is harmful,” Pagoto told the Globe. But she added that on-campus tanning facilities and allowing the use of student cash cards to patronize local off-campus salons create a perception among students that colleges endorse tanning despite its association with a greatly elevated cancer risk. Research shows that tanning only once can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and those who use tanning beds 10 or more times have a 34 percent increased risk.

Read the full story here.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Sherry Pagoto to raise awareness of tanning bed health concerns at Washington, D.C., forum
UMMS study: Tanning beds widely available on or near college campuses, despite cancer risk
As skin cancer soars, UMMS researcher explores alternatives to sun tanning
New numbers show tanning bed popularity among the young
UMMS professor a national voice on skin cancer
UMMS expert supports warnings for tanning beds

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