The Monitor Daily (U.S.) – Young women and teens are advised to steer away from indoor tanning as a new study found melanoma rates are increasing dramatically with young women.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Young adults who take to indoor tanning at a young age are now forming a larger group of patients with melanoma. Lead author of the study, DeAnn Lazovich with the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, explained that the study is based on the observation that more young women under 40 are diagnosed with melanoma than ever before.
According to the researchers, both men and women under 50 are increasingly found to have the condition. The study is the first to shed light on the link between melanoma rates and indoor tanning separated by gender and age. 681 melanoma patients participated in the study. They were diagnosed between 2004 and 2007. Another 654 patients without melanoma represented the control group. The age range of the participants was 25 to 49. Of the patients diagnosed with the severe skin cancer form, 68.3 percent were female.
Indoor tanning increased women’s chances of developing melanoma by two to six times. The high risk group was represented by women under 40. The researchers noted that in this group, indoor tanning was reported as soon as the women were 16 years old. For women in the age group 40 to 49, indoor tanning started at around 25 years old. Younger women also tanned indoor more frequently. Young women reported an average of 100 sessions. The second group reported an average of 40 session.
The young women group had an increased risk of developing melanoma due to indoor tanning. The association between indoor tanning and melanoma was less clear as far as men are concerned. Men were also less likely to tan indoors. Only 44 percent of the men included in the study reported tanning indoors, compared to 78 percent of the women.
The strength of the study published in the JAMA Dermatology is that it focused on the younger population segment. It is this demographic which presents an increased risk of developing melanoma. According to Tina Alster with the Georgetown University School of Medicine, indoor tanning is an invasive activity. Prolonged and constant exposure to UVA and UVB rays increases the risk for this skin cancer form.
In the U.S., indoor tanning is quite a popular activity. 35 percent of adults and over 60 percent of students report indoor tanning at least once. With concentrated amounts of UVA and UVB rays, indoor tanning is clearly linked to developing skin cancer. Melanoma rates have increased twofold in the U.S. in the period between 1982 and 2011. At the same time, melanoma rates are increasing dramatically with young women.
The FDA proposed last year that indoor tanning is banned for those under 18 years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees with the proposal to protect a large segment of the population against the deadliest form of skin cancer.
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