Indoor Tanning More Than Doubles Melanoma Rate in Young Women

DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D. Associate Professor Division of Epidemiology and Community Health University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55454

Dr. Lazovich

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D
.
Associate Professor
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lazovich: In Minnesota, as well as nationally, melanoma rates have been increasing more steeply in women than men younger than age 50 years since about the mid-1990s.  Some have speculated that this could be due to women’s indoor tanning use, as women use indoor tanning much more than men do.  We had data on indoor tanning for men and women according to their age from a case-control study on indoor tanning and melanoma that was published in 2010.  In that 2010 report, we examined the association for individuals regardless of sex, all ages combined.  In this analysis, we restricted the study to individuals under age 50 years, and looked at the association between indoor tanning and melanoma according to three age groups (less than 30 years, 30-39 years and 40-49 years) for men and women separately.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Lazovich: All women who tanned indoors were at increased risk of melanoma, but the likelihood of having melanoma varied according to their age.  Women in their twenties were 6 times more likely to develop melanoma if they tanned indoors compared to non-tanners.  Women in their thirties were 3.5 times and women in their forties were 2.3 times more likely to develop melanoma if they tanned indoors.  Also, melanomas were much more likely to occur on the trunk of women if they tanned indoors than on other body locations.  Compared to women in their 40s, women less than 40 years old typically starting tanning indoors as teenagers and reported a far greater number of tanning sessions. We did not find a consistent relationship between indoor tanning and melanoma among men because fewer men than women under age 50 develop melanoma and men are much less likely to tan indoors.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Lazovich: That is an interesting question!  I think that we need to focus on research to identify strategies that are effective in convincing girls and young women to avoid indoor tanning.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Lazovich: Yes.  In December, 2015, the FDA proposed new rules to restrict indoor tanning to indivudals who are 18 years or older, and to require adults to sign a consent that describes the risks of indoor tanning every six months.  Our study provides strong support that these rules are needed.  But further policy actions may be warranted to reduce melanoma rates.  For example, the minimum age could be raised to 21, as is currently being proposed for tobacco, or  indoor tanning could be banned altogether as Australia has done as of the beginning of 2016.

Citation:

DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D. (2016). Indoor Tanning More Than Doubles Melanoma Rate in Young Women 

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