09/10/2010 - News

Indoor Tanning is Not Safe

By: June Chen, MD


You may think that indoor tanning is a safe alternative to sun worship for getting that summer glow. However, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer.

In their study, researchers from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis found that nearly 63% of 1167 people with melanoma had a history of indoor tanning at some time in their lives. It seems that exactly how much the risk for melanoma is increased by tanning varies depending on the type of indoor tanning device used and how much tanning a person has undergone. Users of UVB-enhanced tanning devices had twice the risk and users of UVA-enhanced tanning devices had four times the risk of melanoma, as compared to people who did not participate in indoor tanning. Interestingly, lifetime sun exposure was not associated with an increased risk of melanoma.
Each year, there are more than 120,000 cases of melanoma and over 8,500 deaths due to melanoma in the United States. Previous research, including a 2006 report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, suggested that indoor tanning was only weakly associated with melanoma. But, based on the findings of this study, which is the largest one of its kind to date, indoor tanning should be avoided and no indoor tanning device is safe. Especially concerning is the fact that a large proportion of the 30 million Americans who use indoor tanning beds are teenagers.

Source: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. Published online 26 May 2010.

Created on: 06/01/2010
Reviewed on: 09/10/2010

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