Researchers say a new study from the
University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center
definitively links the use of indoor tanning devices to increased risk of
melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
This research study involving 2,268 Minnesotans is the largest of its kind.
People who use any type of tanning bed for any amount of time are 74 percent
more likely to develop melanoma, and;
Frequent users of indoor tanning beds 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.
DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D., led the research team on this study. Lazovich is an
associate professor of epidemiology with the School of Public Health and
co-leader of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Prevention and Etiology Research
Program. The study findings are published online on May 27 in Cancer
Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American
Association for Cancer Research.
“We found that it didn’t matter the type of tanning device used; there was
no safe tanning device,” Lazovich said. “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.”
Melanoma is one of the fastest increasing cancers across the United States
and in Minnesota. About 69,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed
with melanoma this year; nearly 1,000 of those people will be Minnesotans.
Although melanoma accounts for only about 4 percent of all skin cancer, it
causes about 79 percent of all deaths from skin cancer. In a more advanced
state, melanoma is especially difficult to successfully treat.
Before this study, indoor tanning has been only weakly associated with
melanoma risk, Lazovich said. “Most reports were not able to adjust for sun
exposure, confirm a dose-response, or examine specific tanning devices,” she
said. “Our population-based, case-control study was conducted to address
Lazovich and her colleagues assessed Minnesota cases of invasive cutaneous
melanoma diagnosed between 2004 and 2007 at ages 25-59. The study
participants and results included:
1,167 people diagnosed with melanoma and 1,101 people (control group)
without melanoma. 62.9% of group with melanoma and 51.1% of control group
had tanned indoors.
Melanoma risk was about 3 times greater among users of UVB-enhanced devices
and 4.4 times greater for UVA-emitting devices. Risk increased with use,
defined as 10 or more years, 50 or more hours, or more than 100 sessions.
Funding for this research was provided by the National Cancer Institute and
the American Cancer Society. Working with Lazovich on this study: Rachel
Isaksson Vogel and Kristin Anderson, University of Minnesota; Erin Warshaw,
VA Medical Center, Minneapolis; Marianne Berwick, University of New Mexico
Cancer Center, Albuquerque; and Martin Weinstock, Brown University,