Indoor Tanning Increases Skin Cancer Risks

Another study has confirmed that indoor tanning increases risks for skin cancers. This time, the study found a link with three common skin cancers: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, said KBOI, citing American Association for Cancer Research published this week.

The study tracked over 73,000 nurses who were participants in the Nurses’ Health Study when they were in high school and college, said WBOI. At that time, the women were between the ages of 25 and 35.

The study found that skin cancer increases from 11%-to-15% for every four times the women visited a tanning salon annually. The study also revealed that tanning bed use during high school and college years appeared to have an increased effect on risks for basal cell carcinoma versus when the devices were used by people aged 25 to 35, said WBOI, which noted that nearly 10% of all Americans visit tanning salons each year.

We’ve long followed reports surrounding the many dangers linked to the use of tanning beds, recently writing that people who regularly tan on these devices run the risk of doubling, even tripling, their risks of developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers among young adults in the United States and is on the rise in all age groups. More than three-quarters of all skin cancer-related deaths are from melanoma and about one person dies of melanoma every hour in the US.

The National Cancer Institute estimates reveal that nearly 70,000 people received a melanoma diagnosis in 2009 in the U.S.; over 8,000 died. Melanoma is particularly fatal due to its ability to deeply invade tissues and spread throughout the body, which does not always happen in other skin cancers.

A study earlier this year found that people who have received indoor tans, on average, undergo a whopping 75% increased risk of developing melanoma versus those who have never tanned in this way. This risk increases significantly among people who are considered frequent and long-term indoor tanners.

We also wrote previously this year that, according to the American Journal of Dermatology, more than 30 million people tan indoors every year; nearly three-quarters of them are women between the ages of 16 and 29. Of note, we’ve also reported that previously announced that some tanning habits are considered an addiction, according to another study.

Another study on which we wrote this year linked tanning beds to a completely different type of danger, concluding that tanning bed exposure, specifically when consumers self-diagnose and use the radiation to treat skin eruptions, can have dangerous outcomes. Specifically, a tanning bed user who attempted to treat a mild skin rash caused by an ibuprofen allergy developed a much more severe reaction called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal.

Tanning beds and lamps are listed as FDA Class I devices—those devices least likely to cause harm. Reclassifying them as Class II or III medical devices will subject them to stricter regulation, with a Class II reclassification enabling the FDA to limit the levels of radiation the devices emit and to make other changes to their design.

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