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Tanning Beds Raise Melanoma Risk 74 Percent

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New findings show tanning beds raise the risk of melanoma 74 percent, regardless of frequency of indoor tanning or type of tanning bed. The risk of melanoma from indoor tanning beds becomes higher with increased frequency, and applies to all ages and genders.

The newest data that definitely links melanoma to indoor tanning also shows it doesn't matter what age a person starts frequenting a tanning bed. Researchers from University of Minnesota say, "The risk of getting melanoma is associated more with how much a person tans and not the age at which a person starts using tanning devices" They also emphasize that no tanning bed is safe.

Prior to the current study tanning beds were only weakly linked to melanoma. The newest study included 2,268 Minnesotans and it the largest study of its kind to show that frequent indoor tanning, defined as more than 50 hours, more than 100 sessions, or more than 10 years, triples an individual's risk of developing the deadly skin cancer that is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States.

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The scientists say previous studies failed to take into account specific tanning devices and amount of individual sun exposure, making it difficult to say for certain whether tanning beds lead to melanoma. According to the new findings, there is no longer any question – tanning beds definitely raise the risk of developing melanoma with frequent use.

DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology with the School of Public Health and co-leader of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Prevention and Etiology Research Program who led the study says the current study addresses previous study limitations. Findings show that frequent indoor tanning triples the chances of developing melanoma from UVB-enhanced devices. The risk is 4.4 times greater from UVA-emitting devices.

Indoor tanners, regardless of frequency, have a 74 percent increased chance of developing melanoma. Frequent use increases melanoma risk 2.5 to 3 times, compared to individuals who never use tanning devices – regardless of age or gender.

University of Minnesota