Figure 12: Catching a Cause of Cancer. Globally, more than 16% of the new cancer diagnoses made in 2008 were estimated to be attributable to
infection with one or more bacteria, viruses or parasites ( 33). Table 3, p. 33 indicates which cancers are associated with which microorganism. As
the proportion of some cancers attributed to infection with a microorganism is close to 100%—for example, nearly all cases of cervical cancer are
linked to certain types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) and at least 80% of liver cancers in most parts of the world are associated with Hepatitis
B and/or C (HBV and/or HCV)—it is evident that appropriate immunization or removal of the underlying infection, when done early, can have a large
impact on the global burden of cancer.
especially around midday; cover up with a shirt; wear a wide-brimmed hat; use sunglasses for eye protection; and apply a
sunscreen rated SPF15 or higher at least every two hours. Adopting
sun-safe habits is undoubtedly an important cancer prevention
approach, as indicated by research showing that daily sunscreen
use can cut the incidence of melanoma in half ( 26). However, more
risk communication needs to be done to bring this to the attention
of the general public.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an affiliate
of the World Health Organization, includes UV tanning devices in its
highest cancer-risk category, “carcinogenic to humans” ( 27),
alongside agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV
that sun bed use before the age of 35
doubles risk of melanoma?
that ANYONE can get skin cancer?
However, non-Hispanic whites and men
over 50 are at a higher risk of developing
melanoma than the general population.
radiation. Avoiding the use of tanning beds and sunlamps would
therefore decrease the incidence of skin cancer. However, tens of
millions of Americans visit tanning salons each year ( 28). According
to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, this number includes more than 13% of all high school
students and 21% of high school girls ( 29).
Faced with the overwhelming scientific evidence that tanning bed
use increases an individual’s risk for developing skin cancer and
that the risk increases with younger age ( 30), some states, counties
and cities in the U.S. have enacted legislation banning minors from
using tanning beds. In other regions, however, similar initiatives
have fallen short of approval ( 31).