Tanning beds are even more dangerous than we originally thought

We already knew that people who frequently visited indoor tanning beds saw a dramatic increase in their risk of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Now, it appears as if non-melanoma skin cancers — the most common forms of skin cancer — are impacted by prolonged exposure to tanning beds.

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California – San Francisco, « the researchers estimate that indoor tanning is responsible for more than 170,000 new cases annually of non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States — and many more worldwide. »

It’s even worse for those who begin using tanning beds at early ages.

« Young people who patronize tanning salons before age 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas compared to those who never use the popular tanning booths, » according to the report.

Nearly 20,000 indoor tanning businesses are in operation, despite all of this evidence. Eleni Linos, MD, DrPH, an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF and senior author of the study, said that Australia and Europe have banned the use of tanning beds for children and teenagers, while Brazil has banned them outright. There is a major cancer prevention opportunity here, and we at the University of Arizona Cancer Center fully support these efforts.

We will have plenty of information about the risks of indoor tanning beds, as well as many other skin-safety tips, at the 2012 Melanoma Walk, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 2-6 p.m. at The University of Arizona Cancer Center – North Campus (3838 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson).

Samantha Kendrick, PhD, awarded Lymphoma Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
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