Higher in Younger Women
The associations between indoor tanning and melanoma has been linked to diagnosis being more common in younger women.
The team of researchers in US was led by DeAnn Lazovich, PhD, MPH; Associate Professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
They reviewed cases of melanoma among 25-49 year olds, comparing a group who were diagnosed as having melanoma vs a control group. The gender distribution was similar in both groups of around 68% female.
However, the indoor tanning habits showed some interesting patterns:
- Nearly 80% of the women surveyed said they had used indoor tanning, compared to to 44% of men
- Women under 40 tended to start indoor tanning younger and use more regularly than women over 40
- Women under 30 who used indoor tanning were 6 times more likely to be in the melanoma diagnosed group than the control group
The study concluded:
“Indoor tanning is a likely factor for the steeper increase in melanoma rates in the United States among younger women compared with men, given the timing of when women initiated indoor tanning relative to diagnosis. The melanoma epidemic can be expected to continue unless indoor tanning is restricted and reduced.”
DeAnne Lazovich commented:
“That almost all of the risk of melanoma relating to indoor tanning was among women was surprising, as was the very strong association among the youngest women.”
“Women under 40 who have tanned in the past may want to monitor their skin for any changes that could signal melanoma, so as to catch it as early as possible. They can certainly stop tanning indoors now, because our data shows that the more tanning sessions, the greater the risk.”
Source: “Association Between Indoor Tanning and Melanoma in Younger Men and Women,” JAMA Dermatology, March 2016; Lazovich D, Isaksson Vogel R, Weinstock MA, Nelson HH, Ahmed RL, Berwick M. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/2484645
Cosmedics Skin Clinics’ team of mole removal doctors advocate regular self-checks to get to know your own moles and spot any worrying signs early. This is recommended regardless of how many moles you have, age, skin tone or any other factor – but is especially vital where there is a known raised risk of melanoma.
Dr Ross Perry advises looking for the ‘ugly duckling’ syndrome – a skin lesion or blemish that simply looks wrong or different from the others. The ABCDE rule is a handy reference guide for mole checking.
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