Indoor Tanning: No Dose Is A Safe Dose

Those of you who use tanning beds should take heed: there’s new proof that there is no such thing as a safe tanning bed or a safe dose. Last year I warned readers about the new, stronger U.S. government classification of tanning beds as “carcinogenic to humans”; now there’s an even stronger study which shows a strong correlation with tanning beds and the deadly melanoma skin cancer. Here are the details, via futurity.com (Is indoor tanning ever safe?):

The study involving 2,268 Minnesotans found that people who use any type of tanning bed for any amount of time are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma.



Frequent users are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop melanoma than those who never use tanning devices. (The study defines frequent uses as people who used indoor tanning for 50 plus hours, more than 100 sessions, or for 10-plus years. This increased risk applies similarly to all ages and genders.)

Details are reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

“We found that it didn’t matter the type of tanning device used; there was no safe tanning device,” says DeAnn Lazovich, lead researcher and associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. “We also found—and this is new data—that the risk of getting melanoma is associated more with how much a person tans and not the age at which a person starts using tanning devices. Risk rises with frequency of use, regardless of age, gender, or device.”

Here are the more technical details directly from the abstract:

Results: Among 1,167 cases and 1,101 controls, 62.9% of cases and 51.1% of controls had tanned indoors (adjusted OR 1.74; 95% CI, 1.42-2.14). Melanoma risk was pronounced among users of UVB-enhanced (adjusted OR, 2.86; 95% CI, 2.03-4.03) and primarily UVA-emitting devices (adjusted OR, 4.44; 95% CI, 2.45-8.02). Risk increased with use: years (P < 0.006), hours (P < 0.0001), or sessions (P = 0.0002). ORs were elevated within each initiation age category; among indoor tanners, years used was more relevant for melanoma development.

Conclusions: In a highly exposed population, frequent indoor tanning increased melanoma risk, regardless of age when indoor tanning began. Elevated risks were observed across devices.

Impact: This study overcomes some of the limitations of earlier reports and provides strong support for the recent declaration by the IARC that tanning devices are carcinogenic in humans.




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