Strongest evidence yet of link between indoor tanning and melanoma

It is almost 100% sure that if a woman has been diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 30 then she has a history of using indoor tanning facilities, finds a large-scale retrospective case-control study.

Study’s lead researcher DeAnn Lazovich from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis was of the view that among the 63 youngest women with a melanoma diagnosis, 61 were having the history of indoor tanning.

Younger women were found to be reporting earlier and more frequent use of indoor tanning facilities in comparison to melanoma patients diagnosed later in life. The researchers have found that the chances of melanoma increased by two to six among women aged 30 to 49 if they were having a history of indoor tanning.

The researchers have assessed data from the Skin Health Study to study the relationship between melanoma and the use of indoor tanning, age when starting indoor tanning sessions and frequency of indoor tanning.

Men in comparison to women were around 50% less likely than women to indulge in indoor tanning. The study findings have also added to evidence that linked indoor tanning to the recent rise in melanoma incidence among young women.

There is a need for legislative and regulatory efforts to control the access to and use for indoor tanning facilities. The authors said, “Our results indicate that these efforts need to be accelerated and expanded beyond bans on minor access to indoor tanning to curb the melanoma epidemic, which seems likely to continue unabated, especially among young women, unless exposure to indoor tanning is further restricted and reduced”.

Skin specialist Mary Maloney, MD of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, said the study findings provide the strong evidence till date of the association indoor tanning and melanoma. Over the past 10 years, melanoma incidence has not only remained higher in women but has increased more rapidly in younger women in comparison to men.

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