Amarillo, TX - It's a disease that continues to rise at an alarming rate.
More young people in our area are getting diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
New research shows melanoma cancer in people ages 18 to 39 has increased eightfold among women and fourfold among men nationwide over the last forty years.
Doctors say our area has seen the same rate.
Two of the biggest driving factors are tanning and childhood burns.
"We have a real high incidence in melanoma in the Texas panhandle. We've got lot's of melanoma," says Dr. Phillip Periman, Texas Oncology.
Over the years, the number of people diagnosed has gone up dramatically as the age of diagnosis has gotten younger.
"It's scattered across all age groups. I've seen patients in their teens. Occasionally young children will get it, it's really bad," says Dr. Phillip Periman, Texas Oncology.
There are several speculations of what might be the cause, like childhood burns.
"There is evidence that childhood burns enhance your risk for skin cancer," says Dr. Phillip Periman, Texas Oncology.
Tanning beds are a big concern.
"Every piece of evidence I've seen, those tanning booths cause skin cancer and more melanoma. So from my point of view, as a doctor who has to take care of patients when they get melanoma, they're terrible. It's a horrible cancer to get. It's hard to cure if you don't find it early. And once it spreads, it's almost impossible to cure," says Dr. Phillip Periman, Texas Oncology.
"Like yesterday, we had 115 tans," says Sagan Caddell, manager, Electric Beach.
There are laws that regulate tanning.
"For instance, in our computer if you've tanned within the past twenty-four hours, if I try to tan you before your time, it will pop up and say tanner has tanned in the past twenty-four hours, cannot tan," says Sagan Caddell, manager, Electric Beach.
If you are 16 and a half, you are required to have parental consent.
Anyone older than that must still fill out a form that states some of the risks involved.
"We log everything from every single day, the health department will make sure we're logging everything and there's no unknown tanners in the bed," says Sagan Caddell, manager, Electric Beach.
In their defense, they say there are benefits from this popular trend.