Given the timing of when women initiate indoor tanning in relation to diagnosis, indoor tanning could be a likely factor for the steep increase in melanoma rates in the U.S. among younger women compared to men, according to a study published in JAMA Dermatology.

Researchers led by DeAnn Lazovich, PhD, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis conducted a population-based, case-control study of 681 patients who were diagnosed with melanoma between 2004 and 2007. 465 of whom were women. They matched these patients with 654 controls aged 25 to 49 years.

They calculated for crude and adjusted odds ratios for melanoma in relation to indoor tanning exposure for men and women by diagnosis or reference age.


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The study found that, compared with women who were 40 to 49 years of age, those who were younger than 40 initiated indoor tanning at a younger age and reported more frequent indoor tanning sessions.

Women who were younger than 30 years of age were 6 times more likely to be in the case group than the control group if they reported indoor tanning, and odds ratios were significantly higher in women 30 to 49 years of age.

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However, results by age among men were found to be inconsistent.

“The melanoma epidemic can be expected to continue unless indoor tanning is restricted and reduced,” the authors concluded.

Reference

  1. Lazovich D, Vogel RI, Weinstock MA, et al. Association Between Indoor Tanning and Melanoma in Younger Men and Women. JAMA Derm. [published online ahead of print January 27, 2016]. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2938.