Young women who use tanning beds are up to six times more likely to develop melanoma (a type of skin cancer), a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that increased exposure to indoor tanning will continue to broaden the melanoma epidemic specifically among younger women. In recent years, more and more young women in the United States have developed melanoma because of indoor tanning, according to researchers.
In the new study – published Saturday (Jan. 27) in the journal JAMA Dermatology – the researchers looked at data collected from 2004 to 2007 on almost seven hundred people in Minnesota ages 25 to 49, who were diagnosed with melanoma. They compared those individuals with another group of 654 healthy people around the same age, also from Minnesota.
The results showed that women who had gone tanning were six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s, and 2.5 times more likely to develop melanoma in their 40s, compared with those who had never used indoor tanning.
Moreover, the women who developed the skin cancer in their 20s began using indoor tanning at the age on sixteen (on average) and have gone tanning over one hundred times, according to researchers. On the other end of the spectrum, the women who developed melanoma in their 40s began indoor tanning at around the age of 24; they had a total of fifty tanning sessions in their lifetimes (on average).
Because women in their 20s started indoor tanning at a younger age and their number of lifetime tanning sessions was very high relative to their ages, they had the highest risk of developing melanoma, the researchers explained.
There was a recent rise in this type of skin cancer among young women – which may be party explained by the new findings. In the United States, the rates of melanoma among women younger than fifty increased from about eight cases per 100,000 individuals in 1995, to eleven cases per 100,000 individuals in 2006, the National Cancer Institute stated.
Between 1995 and 2006, melanoma rates among men increased only a little: from 7.6 cases per 100,000 individuals to eight cases per 100,000 men, researchers found.
Gery Guy Jr., a health economist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that the new study sheds light on the importance of reducing indoor tanning. Artificial UV radiation from indoor tanning is a risk factor that people can easily avoid, he added.
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