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Indoor Tanning, Melanoma Definitively Linked

Posted: June 4, 2010

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Melanoma is one of the fastest increasing cancers across the United States and in Minnesota. About 69,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma this year; nearly 1,000 of those people will be Minnesotans. Although melanoma accounts for only about 4% of all skin cancer, it causes about 79% of all deaths from skin cancer. In a more advanced state, melanoma is especially difficult to successfully treat.

Before this study, indoor tanning has been only weakly associated with melanoma risk, Lazovich said.

"Most reports were not able to adjust for sun exposure, confirm a dose-response, or examine specific tanning devices," she said. "Our population-based, case-control study was conducted to address these limitations."

Lazovich and her colleagues assessed Minnesota cases of invasive cutaneous melanoma diagnosed between 2004 and 2007 at ages 25–59. The study participants and results included:

  • 1,167 people diagnosed with melanoma and 1,101 people (control group) without melanoma. 62.9% of group with melanoma and 51.1% of control group had tanned indoors.
  • Melanoma risk was about three times greater among users of UVB-enhanced devices and 4.4 times greater for UVA-emitting devices.
  • Risk increased with use, defined as 10 or more years, 50 or more hours, or more than 100 sessions.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.