The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal

MAY 2013

The 2012 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal features medically reviewed, reader-friendly articles such as tanning, the increasing incidence of skin cancer diagnoses among young women, & the prevalence of melanoma among white males over 50.

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THE SMOKING GUN New Evidence Defnitively Links Indoor Tanning to Skin Cancer For years, the results of various studies suggested — and many scientists and doctors believed — that indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanning increased tanners' risk of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the three major forms of skin cancer.1,2 As early as 2002, one respected study relying on interviewees' memories of tanning bed use found that people who used tanning beds were 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.3 However, until recently, conclusive evidence of indoor tanning's risks was hard to fnd. In the past few years, the weight of new research has become overwhelming. In 2009, the foodgates opened when scientists in England fnished their landmark genetic map of a melanoma, determining that the vast majority of the thousands of gene mutations, or errors, found in melanoma were caused by UV radiation.4 Mutations are what can ultimately lead to cancer. Since then, a wave of substantial studies, including convincing long-term meta-analyses (studies of multiple studies over many years), has made the link between tanning and skin cancer undeniable. Since 2010 alone, to present just a few examples, scientists have discovered that: 10% 15% 20% 25% 76% 90% Just one indoor tanning session per year in high school or college boosts the risk of basal cell carcinoma by 10 percent. That risk is increased to 73 percent if one tans six times per year.5 People who tan indoors just four times per year increase their risk of basal and squamous cell carcinomas by 15 percent.5 A single indoor tanning session raises melanoma risk by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent.6 Approximately 25 percent of early-onset basal cell carcinomas could be avoided if an individual never tanned indoors.7 A full 76 percent of melanoma diagnoses among people ages 18 to 29 who had tanned indoors are attributable to tanning bed use.8 People who begin tanning before age 35 increase their risk of melanoma by almost 90 percent.6 Based on all the evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, affliated with the World Health Organization), the US government, the FDA, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, and The Skin Cancer Foundation all have declared indoor tanning a major cause of skin cancers.9 At this point, researchers estimate that close to 171,000, or about 5 percent, of the 3.5 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer diagnosed every year in the US can be attributed to indoor tanning.10 Unfortunately, this number is only expected to climb. Any suggestion that tanning beds are safe is putting people's lives in danger. References available on p.93. 29

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