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Tanning Can Be Addictive

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Tanning season is upon us and so is the increased risk of skin cancer. 

University of Kentucky Associate Professor of Pediatrics John Dorazio is among those researchers trying to determine why ultraviolet rays cause melanoma.  He says tanning can affect the brain as well as the skin.

"Tanning can actually be a true addictive kind of behavior and there's a physiological reason for this.  The same pathway that makes the skin tan also gives us beta endorphins and those endorphins act like little bits of morphine in the skin and gets absorbed in the bloodstream and it makes you feel good,” said Dorazio.

According to Dorazio, studies show one out of every 16 hundred people in the 1930's was diagnosed with melanoma.  He says today the figure is one in every 60 people.  The clinician and researcher says the huge increase is due, in part, to an aging population, plus heightened awareness and diagnosis.

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