Sioux Falls Woman Backs Bill That Would Ban Minors From Tanning

Amy Evans was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2004

A local physician says this year alone, 76,000 people will be diagnosed with a type of skin cancer called melanoma.

It’s a diagnosis that often stems from indoor tanning.

Now, South Dakota lawmakers are taking action.

The State House will soon be debating a bill that would ban all minors from using indoor tanning beds.

One Sioux Falls woman is in support of this.

Amy Evans was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2004.

The cancer came back in 2012.

“It took a whole summer with surgeries and all that to get it to heal,” says Evans.

Evans started tanning 4 to 5 times a week at the age of 14.

When she went to college and started managing a tanning salon, that number increased to 7 days a week, which she says is likely what caused her cancer.

“It was the easiest and fastest way to get a tan,” says Evans. “Even in the summer it was just easy to go get a tan. I could just go for 15 minutes and get it done.”

Sanford Physician Marcus Frohm, MD, says the problem with tanning is the UV light.

“UV light is a known carcinogen,” says Frohm. “This is like smoking; this is a drug that can cause cancer.”

He says the risk of damage is more severe for youth whose skin isn’t fully developed.

But that damage doesn’t show up right away.

“I don’t think that enough people are informed about the risks, and truly the possibility of death from this cancer,” says Frohm. “When you’re 18 when you don’t see the effects of it until 5,8,10 years later, the damage has been done and it’s too late.”

Something that Evans knows too well.

“The time away from my kids, the multiple surgeries the pain you go through, it’s not worth it,” says Evans.

Frohm says tanning in a bed just once increases the risk of developing melanoma by up to 16 percent.

He says the safest way to get a tan is through a spray tan.