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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
General Health Channel
Reported October 5, 2012

Dangers of Indoor Tanning

By Ivanhoe Health Correspondent Marianne Thornton

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Many people like the look of tanned skin and with the invention of tanning beds and salons they don’t even need to lay out for hours in the sun to get it. It turns out that the healthy glow is actually not so healthy as a new study confirms the link between indoor tanning and the risk of skin cancer.

The study, led by Professor Eleni Linos from the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed the results of 12 different studies involving 9,328 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer to confirm whether or not a link exists between indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer.

"We already know that tanning beds are linked to melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, but we wanted to find out if there was also a link with other types of skin cancer," Professor Linos said.

The results determined that there is in fact a link.

Compared to never having used indoor tanning, the use of indoor tanning is associated with a 67 percent higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk of basal cell carcinoma. It was also determined that indoor tanning alone may account for over 170,000 of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States.

Even more startling was that younger populations who use indoor tanning are associated with an even higher risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Indoor tanning is dangerous, especially for teenagers and young adults. For teenagers, tanning beds increase the risk of basal cell cancer by 40% and they double the risk of squamous cell cancer," Professor Linos explained.

The indoor tanning craze and health problems associated with it are not just in the United States. Another study from July concluded that 5.4 percent of new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in Western Europe are related to sunbed use.

Some believe that the tanning tax implemented not too long ago in the United States might be beneficial in Europe as well. However, an increase in cost may not prevent many people from tanning; for that they need to make their own choice.

Professor Linos recommended, "Patients who want to reduce their risk of skin cancer, should stop using indoor tanning altogether or never start."

(Source: Interview with Eleni Linos, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Published Online at, October, 2012)


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