Thursday, May 27, 2010

Indoor tanning beds increase risk of melanoma

PHILADELPHIA – May 27, 2010 – In case there remained any doubts about the risks of tanning beds, the largest study of its kind on this issue has found that use of indoor tanning beds increases risk of melanoma between twofold and fourfold depending on the device and length of time indoor tanning is used.

Lead author Dr. DeAnn Lazovich, associate professor of epidemiology and community health in the School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, reported the study findings of more than 2,200 participants.

“It had been previously thought that those tanning with UVB, rather than UVA, radiation would be at increased risk for melanoma,” Lazovich said in a prepared statement. “Our study shows that there is no such thing as a safe device.”

In the study of 1,167 melanoma patients and 1,101 healthy participants who did not have the disease the researchers compared the use of indoor tanning in detail. They compared type of tanning rays used, duration of tanning sessions, frequency of use and total accumulated time of tanning.

The researchers found that overall those who tanned indoors had a 74 percent increased risk of melanoma compared to those who had never tanned indoors. If the devices emitted primarily UVA radiation, the risk was 4.4-fold higher compared to those who did not tan indoors. There was also a dose relationship, meaning the more exposure, the greater the risk. Risk increased along with greater years of use, number of sessions or total hours of use.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a ban on indoor tanning beds among teenagers. Results from this study suggest the greater risk of melanoma observed among teenagers is more likely due to increased years of tanning rather than biology. Currently, indoor tanning use is much more common among teenage girls and young women than boys or men.

The study appears today online ahead of print publication in  Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Listen to a recording of the teleconference.

SOURCE: adapted from press materials provided by the American Association of Cancer Research, publishers of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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