• Don’t engage in indoor tanning. Just don’t.

    From JAMA Dermatology, “Association Between Indoor Tanning and Melanoma in Younger Men and Women“:

    IMPORTANCE: In the United States and Minnesota, melanoma incidence is rising more steeply among women than men younger than 50 years. To our knowledge, no study has examined age- and sex-specific associations between indoor tanning and melanoma to determine if these trends could be due to greater indoor tanning use among younger women.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between indoor tanning and melanoma among men and women younger than 50 years.

    DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Population-based case-control study conducted in Minnesota of 681 patients (465 [68.3%] women) diagnosed as having melanoma between 2004 and 2007, and 654 controls (446 [68.2%] women), ages 25 to 49 years.

    EXPOSURE: Indoor tanning, defined as any use, first age of use, and total sessions.

    MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs were calculated for melanoma in relation to indoor tanning exposure for men and women by diagnosis or reference age (<30, 30-39, 40-49 years). Sex-specific associations for indoor tanning and melanoma by anatomic site were examined.

    Melanoma is on the rise. Researchers wanted to see if there was an association between indoor tanning in people younger than 50 years. They conducted a case-control study of women and men in Minnesota.

    They included 681 patients between the ages of 25 to 49 years who were diagnosed with melanoma between 2004 and 2007. They matched them to 654 controls. The exposure of interest was indoor tanning, including any use, the age of first use, and total number of sessions.

    First off, women who were younger than 40 were more likely to have started tanning at a younger age. Those over 40 started tanning at 25; those younger than 40 started at 16. Those under 40 tanned more, too – 100 sessions on average versus 40 for the older women.

    Younger women who tanned were six times more likely to have melanoma than those who did not, and those who tanned more were more likely to have melanoma.

    Yes, this is a case-control study, and, yes, those are relative risk increases. But consider this: Pretty much all the women in the study (96.8%) who developed melanoma before 30 years of age had engaged in indoor tanning. All of them had started indoor tanning before they were 25 and, and almost all of them tanned more than 10 times a year.

    Don’t do it. Just don’t.


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