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Sunday, 09 March 2008 21:48

Tanning salons increase cancer risk in older folks, not just teenagers

A health survey of U.S. adults shows 27% of young females 18 to 29 years of age use tanning salons, while 10% of people 50 to 64 years of age use them. A scientist states, “There is a myth that indoor tanning is safer than sunbathing, but this is not the case."       

In total, the study found that indoor tanning is used:

  • 27% of the time with females 18 to 29 years,
  • 20% of people 18 to 39 years,
  • 17% of people 30 to 39 years,
  • 14% of those 40 to 49 years,
  • 13% of males 18 to 29 years,
  • 10% of people 50 to 64 years,
  • 8% of males 65 years and older, and
  • 7% of females 65 years and older.

Researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania performed the study. They analyzed data from a 2005 health survey called the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The article involving the NHIS study is published in the Sunday, March 7, 2008 online issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The title of the article is “Prevalence and correlates of indoor tanning among US adults.” Its authors are Carolyn J. Heckman, Elliot J. Coups, and Sharon L. Manne.

According to the Science Daily article: “Teenage Girls Aren't The Only Ones Who Tan Indoors, Older Adults Do So As Well”:

  • Skin cancer can be “deadly” when it turns into melanoma.
  • Shin cancer is the “most common form of cancer” in the United States.
  • Skin cancer is “increasing” in the United States over the “past four decades.”
  • Skin cancer in the form of deadly malignant melanoma is “increasing faster than any other cancer” in the United States.

American behavioral researcher Carolyn J. Heckman, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, states, “Ninety percent of all skin cancers are thought to be associated with ultraviolet radiation, which is emitted during indoor tanning. There is a myth that indoor tanning is safer than sunbathing, but this is not the case." [Science Daily]

Heckman goes on to say, “We conducted these analyses because we know little about the prevalence and correlates of indoor tanning among adults. Most prior studies have targeted adolescents and young adults. This is the largest study to date investigating indoor tanning in a cohort extending throughout adulthood and we were surprised by how many older adults visit tanning facilities. This is further evidence of the expanding popularity of indoor tanning despite the increased risks for skin cancer."

Heckman concludes, "We hope our findings will help inform the public and health professionals who may think indoor tanning isn't a concern for adults. We would also like to see more research conducted in this important area."

Before you use an indoor tanning salon, please read up on the dangers of extreme exposure to ultraviolet rays of the Sun.

I did a Google search with “dangers tanning salon.”

The first four articles that appear are entitled:

Please don’t take my word on indoor tanning, research it yourself before you try it.

UPDATE: Since so many people have commented on indoor tanning, I did a Google search on "advantages indoor tanning." Please see below the top four articles:

"About Indoor Tanning" by Indoor Tanning Association.
"Is Naural Sunlight the Same as Indoor Tanning?" by National Tanning Training (Looking Fit).
"Tanning Smarter Than Ever" by TanningTruth.com.
"Tanning the dermatologist approved cure-all" by The New Hampshire (student publication of The University of New Hampshire)

Whether you agree or disagree with indoor tanning, it is a subject that deserves to be studied, for the heath and well-being of everyone.


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