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Doctors raise melanoma awareness and warn teens against indoor tanning

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KTIV) - Getting ready for prom can be just as exciting as the night itself.

Indoor tanning has become popular for teens as they prepare for the big night.

However, doctors at Faith Regional Health Services, in Norfolk, Nebraska say this trend can be deadly.

"It's not safe. It's a carcinogen. Exposure to UVA and UVB has been strongly linked to skin cancer," Dr. Rabih Fahed, a medical oncologist at Faith Regional Health Services said.

Dr. Rabih Fahed is a medical oncologist at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, Nebraska.

He said melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

It's also the most common cancer found in young women.

The World Health Organization and the Food and Drug Administration are pointing the finger at indoor tanning, saying the bed's ultraviolet rays are responsible for 76% of melanoma cases in the U.S. for patients under 30.

"Teenagers in this country are among the common people using tanning beds, and that's a problem," Fahed said.

Dr. Fahed said it's a problem because the bulbs in tanning beds are stronger and more concentrated than natural light. And he said this can increase your chances of developing melanoma.

"I think melanoma is one of the disease that prevention is the main remedy and early detection," Fahed said.

Dr. Fahed said its important to pay attention to your body. If you notice any changes, like the color or size, of moles, he says show your doctor right away.

Without early detection and removal, melanoma can spread, becoming resistant to chemo and other radiation treatments and the result can be deadly.

"I cannot tell anybody 'go and smoke.' I cannot justify smoking. At the same time, I cannot justify tanning beds," Fahed said.

Faith Regional Health Services is taking part in "The Bed Is Dead" campaign with the Nebraska Cancer Coalition.

Its goal is to encourage Nebraska high school students to take a pledge showing a commitment to protect their skin.

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