Teen Girls Still Ignoring Health Risks Associated with Tanning Beds, Tied to Skin Cancer

By Staff Reporter, Parent Herald August 19, 09:12 pm

Teen girls prefer to look beautiful regardless of the cost, even if it costs their health. A new study released Monday found that many teenage girls are still using tanning beds despite the risk of cancer.

Nearly 30 percent of white female high school students use tanning beds and nearly 17 percent use them often, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among white women aged 18 to 34, nearly 25 percent use tanning beds and 15 percent use them frequently. The study was published online August 19 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

"The high rates of indoor tanning among this population is very concerning," said report coauthor Gery Guy Jr., of the division of cancer prevention at the CDC.

Moreover, there have been no significant changes in the prevalence of indoor tanning in recent years, he added.

"Indoor tanning has been associated with skin cancer, particularly melanoma," Guy said. "The risk is increased among younger users and those who use it frequently."

The evidence linking the ultraviolet light from tanning lamps with melanoma has never been stronger, says Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, who wasn't involved in the new study. Melanoma is a lethal form of skin cancer diagnosed in nearly 77,000 Americans a year, according to the cancer society. Melanoma kills 9,500 Americans a year.

Previous studies have shown that using indoor tanning devices before age 35 years increases risk for melanoma by as much as 75%, and melanoma risk increases 1.8% with each additional tanning session per year.

Until now, however, data on the prevalence of indoor tanning in young non-Hispanic white women are limited.

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