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Young Women who Indoor Tan regularly have a Higher Risk of Melanoma, Study Says

Update Date: Jan 28, 2016 10:31 AM EST

Young women who indoor tan frequently are putting themselves at a greater risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, a new study reported.

For this study, the researchers at the University of Minnesota wanted to further examine the link between melanoma and indoor tanning in specific age and gender groups. The team looked at the medical data on 681 patients who were diagnosed with melanoma from 2004 to 2007. 68.3 percent of the people in this group were women. They also looked at 654 patients (68.2 percent women) who did not have skin cancer. The patients were between the ages of 25 and 49.

"This is one of the first studies to look at the relationship between indoor tanning and melanoma broken down by gender and age group," study author DeAnn Lazovich, an associate professor in the School of Public Health and the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, said reported by CBS News.

The team found that women with a history of indoor tanning were two to six times more likely to get diagnosed with melanoma. When the team looked at different age groups within female patients with melanoma, they found that the younger patients were more likely to have started indoor tanning at an earlier age and more likely to have tanned more often than older women.

More specifically, female patients under 40 reported indoor tanning at the age of 16. Their sessions totaled an averaged of 100. In female patients from the 40 - 49 age group, they reported starting the habit at the age of 25. Their average number of sessions was 40.

The researchers reported that the link between indoor tanning and melanoma risk was less apparent in men. They did find that men were less likely than women to report indoor tanning habits.

"Our results indicate that these efforts need to be accelerated and expanded beyond bans on minor access to indoor tanning to curb the melanoma epidemic, which seems likely to continue unabated especially among young women, unless exposure to indoor tanning is further restricted and reduced," the authors wrote according to the press release.

The study's findings were published in JAMA Dermatology.

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