Health News: Tanning Beds Linked to Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Indoor tanning beds can cause non-melanoma skin cancer, and the risk is greater the earlier one starts, according to a new analysis led by University of California, San Francisco.

Young people who patronize tanning salons before age 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas compared to those who do not, the researchers reported.

Indoor tanning is already an established risk factor for malignant melanoma, the less common but deadliest form of skin cancer. The new study confirms that indoor tanning significantly increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common human skin cancers.

In the most extensive examination of published findings on the subject, the researchers estimate that indoor tanning is responsible for more than 170,000 new cases annually of non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States and many more worldwide.

“The numbers are striking—hundreds of thousands of cancers each year are attributed to tanning beds,” said Eleni Linos, MD, DrPH, an assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF and senior author of the study. “This creates a huge opportunity for cancer prevention.”