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Extreme Tanning: Cancer Scare Doesn’t Stop Tan Clan

Stockbyte/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- For the Corkran family of Jasper, Texas, tanning is a family tradition. Mom Erin Corkran and her two daughters, Jamie and Rachel, tan every day, sometimes twice a day, and often in the comfort of their own home, in a $4,000 tanning bed that takes up one of their bedrooms.

“It’s convenient, it’s private and it’s the only place it would fit,” Erin told ABC News.

Jamie, 26, and Rachel, 17, were both in the tanning bed by the time they were around 12 years old.  When they’re not tanning indoors, they head outside.

“I like to go out there daily for hours,” Jamie said.  “I like to go in the heat of the day.  You get the best sun.”

“Most times when we look in the mirror we’re not dark enough,” said Rachel.

The two sisters share tanning tips with their mom the way other families hand down generations-old recipes.

“We’ll use baby oil with iodine,” Jamie said.  “She [mom] taught me that trick when I was in junior high school.”

Recently, Erin has been nagging Rachel for slacking off on her own tan.

“She tells me every day,” Rachel said.

According to the American Journal of Medicine, adolescents with a parent who uses indoor tanning are 70 percent more likely to tan themselves.  All three women share a devotion to staying dark.

“Tan fat looks better than white fat,” Jamie said.  “You look more alive. Your teeth look wither, your eyes look brighter.  Your bathing suits just look a million times better.”

With statistics showing that 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by UV radiation, tanning can be a dangerous hobby.

Erin had a precancerous spot removed from her skin a few years ago and was told by her doctor to quit tanning.

“I did try and then I had my kids telling on me and my grandkids would tell on me so finally I said, ‘Ya’ll need to leave me alone. I’m gonna tan,’” she said.  “I don’t want to stop.”

“You always think the things you hear and read and happen to other people are not going to happen to you until it does,” Erin said.  “I guess it’s like playing Russian Roulette.”

Aware of their mom’s cancer scare, Jamie and Rachel are not giving up tanning either.

“We are worried for her but that doesn’t mean we are going to stop tanning either, because we both love it,” Rachel said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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