New study finds strong link between indoor tanning and skin cancer

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by ERIKA EDWARDS / NBC

KING5.com

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

A new study draws a strong link between indoor tanning and the risk for skin cancer.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota gathered data on people with and without melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

They found those who'd had more than 100 tanning sessions had triple the risk for melanoma than those who never used them.

The risk went up the more a person tanned.

"This study provides the strongest evidence that we have for the effect of tanning beds on melanoma risk," said  Dr. Electra Paskett, a professor of Epidemiology.

Even though the study showed it didn't matter how old melanoma victims were when they started using tanning beds, experts say young adults are often oblivious to the risks.

"It's very hard for them to think about cancer, because that's an old person's disease, so they think. It's not just a disease of older people. It is a disease of young adults," said Dr. Paskett.

Brittany Cicala was diagnosed with Stage 2 Melanoma at age 20.

She blames years of indoor tanning.

"I was addicted," she said. "Tanning beds were my drug of choice."

The Indoor Tanning Association points out this latest study is based on people living in Minnesota, a population more likely to have fairer skin and a higher risk for skin cancer anyway.

The organization is calling for more research to clarify the risks.

Meanwhile, dermatologists maintain there's no such thing as a safe tan,  whether your rays come from a tanning bed or the sun.

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