Indoor tanning users are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than others, according to a study of 2,000+ participants reported in the June 2010 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. This study makes the strongest link yet between indoor tanning and melanoma.
Melanoma afflicts nearly 69,000 Americans a year and is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
Researchers began with more than 2,000 individuals, one-half of whom had documented cases of melanoma. The participants were asked their tanning habits, including outdoor sun exposure and use of indoor tanning equipment.
The researchers found that there was an increased risk of developing skin cancer from the use of tanning beds, but not from lifetime exposure to outdoor sunlight, whether through jobs or leisure activities.
The results show such a strong link between exposure to artificial ultraviolet light and melanoma that it could influence the pending FDA decision on whether to tighten regulation of tanning salons. A ban on indoor tanning for teenagers is even possible.