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Tanning Dangers

June 2, 2014

A new study adds to growing evidence of the dangers of indoor tanning.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Tanning’s deceptive dangers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Tanning beds promote skin cancer. (tristanb/Wikipedia)

There’s more evidence that tanning beds promote skin cancer. (tristanb/Wikipedia)

Summer is just around the corner, and many people have the belief that getting a “base tan” can help prevent burning later. But this is a risky proposition, according to University of Minnesota epidemiologist DeAnn Lazovich.

DEANN LAZOVICH (University of Minnesota):

By avoiding sunburn – which is a risk factor for melanoma – they may think they are reducing their chance of getting this type of skin cancer, which is a very serious skin cancer. Our data suggest that that is not the case.

HIRSHON:

Her team compared over 1000 melanoma patients to matched controls. They found that indoor tanners who had never burned – indoors or out – were four times more likely to develop the potentially deadly cancer. She says tanning is the skin’s attempt to repair DNA damaged by ultraviolet radiation, and even in the absence of burning this damage can accumulate over time, resulting in melanoma. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.