Indoor Tanning, Even Without Burning, Increases the Risk of Melanoma

“People sometimes use indoor tanning in the belief that this will prevent burns when they tan outdoors. However, indoor tanning raises the risk of developing melanoma even if a person has never had burns from either indoor or outdoor tanning, according to a study published May 29 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“To test the hypothesis that indoor tanning without burns prevents sunburn and subsequent skin cancer, researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, Department of Dermatology, and Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis used data from a case-control study on indoor tanning and the risk of melanoma. The researchers had detailed information on indoor tanning and sun exposure for the study participants and excluded those who experienced a burn while tanning indoors.”

Many More Young Women Get Skin Cancer

A recent study showed that melanoma rose eight times in women aged 18 to 39 years in the last 40 years, and the researchers think tanning beds are a big part of the problem. The lamps in tanning beds emit 10 to 15 times more ultraviolet (UV)A radiation than sunlight and the biggest users are young white women. Many of them get skin cancer just 5 to 10 years later. Recommendations for protecting skin from the UV damage that can lead to cancer include staying out of the sun, using high SPF sunscreen, and wearing long sleeves. People with risk factors including fair skin, light eyes, and family history of skin cancer should also get annual skin checks by dermatologists.

FDA Plans Stronger Protections Against Indoor Tanning

Using indoor tanning beds can increase the risk of melanoma by 75%—and the US Food and Drug Administration wants you to know it. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the biggest environmental risk factor for melanoma and, the more someone uses a tanning bed, the more likely that they will get this aggressive, but preventable skin cancer. A new FDA proposal would downgrade UV sunlamps from ‘low’ to ‘moderate’ risk devices and would require labels that warn frequent users to get regular skin checks. The public can comment on this proposal until August 7, 2013.


Too Many Melanoma Survivors Still Get Too Much Sun

Researchers were surprised to discover that many melanoma survivors fail to protect themselves from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the biggest risk factor for this cancer. About 27% of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen, 14% don’t stay in the shade, and 2% actually go to tanning salons, according to an analysis of the 2010 National Health Interview Survey that was presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Public health experts call for refuting common myths about tanning, stressing that it is not safer to tan inside than outdoors, and that tans from a salon do not reduce the risk of sunburn.

Melanoma in Children is Rare—But Rising

Melanoma, which currently accounts for 3% of cancers in children, is increasing by about 2% a year amongst newborns to 19-year-olds, according to a new study in Pediatrics. The researchers studied 1,230 white children and found that the biggest jump in melanoma rates was in those aged 15 to 19 years. Girls were particularly at-risk,and were more likely to have melanomas on their lower legs and hips. Boys were more likely to have melanomas on their faces and trunks. Melanoma is also on the rise in adults and the increase in this cancer among both children and adults may be driven by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Doctors recommend frequent application of sunscreen that blocks both UV A and UV B rays and urge parents to watch for new or changing moles on their children.

Ottawa will soon require that tanning beds carry skin cancer warning labels

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says Health Canada will soon require that all tanning beds carry warnings about skin cancer and other potential dangers.

Canada to Require Skin Cancer Warnings on Tanning Beds

Canada’s Health Minister says that the country will soon require labels on indoor tanning beds that say “Tanning Equipment Can Cause Cancer.” Using tanning beds before age 35 years significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Quebec ban minors from using tanning beds or require parental consent; similar laws are in the works in British Columbia and Ontario. Such bans are already in place in Australia, France, and Germany.