New study shows tanning salons twice as likely to cause cancer than being in the sun


WASHINGTON - People who seek a glamorous tan using sun lamps may double their risk of developing some common types of skin cancer, according to a new study that found the risk was highest for those who start at a young age.

The study, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2002, concluded that people who use tanning devices were 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have common kinds of skin cancer than were people who did not use the devices.

The study confirmed what doctors and other health care workers have long suspected - that sun lamp use increases the risk of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, said Margaret R. Karagas, first author of the study.

"Even though we suspected tanning lamps might cause these types of skin cancers, there really hadn't before been epidemiological studies that addressed that issue," she said.

Dr. James Spencer, vice chairman of the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and an expert spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology, praised the study as confirming in humans what has already been shown in animal studies - "it is actually worse to go to the tanning parlor and get a little bit each day" than it is to get an infrequent sunburn.

2012: It's pretty well accepted that sun tanning lamps can be a factor in causing skin cancer - many other studies have repeated similar results to the study above.


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