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Skin Cancer Risk HIgher for Teens Who Tan

Update Date: Jun 24, 2014 01:03 AM EDT

Teens who tan in salons are more likely to develop skin cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University linked early exposure to the ultraviolet radiation lamps used for indoor tanning to a higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas (BCC) at a young age.

Researchers said that findings are important as indoor tanning has becoming increasingly popular among teens and young adults.

The latest study involved 657 participants in the New Hampshire Skin Cancer Study who were diagnosed with basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and 452 healthy participants.

Researchers recorded the tanning devices participants used, participants' skin sensitivity to the sun and the duration of time participants spent outdoors in childhood.

"Our findings suggest that teens and young adults who seek indoor tanning may be especially vulnerable to developing BCC, the most common form of skin cancer, at a young age," lead author Professor Margaret Karagas, co-director of the Cancer Epidemiology and Chemopreventon Research Program at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Director of the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth University, said in a news release. "But a recent survey in New Hampshire, where our study was conducted, found that 74 percent of high schools have at least one tanning salon within 2 miles, and an additional 22 percent have easy access to a tanning salon. We need to help young people understand these risks."

The study revealed that significantly more patients with early-onset BCC reported indoor tanning with a tanning lamp compared to healthy participants.

Furthermore, participants with early-onset BCC were more likely to burn rather than tan during the first hour of sun exposure in summer compared to their healthy counterparts.

Researcher said the study suggests that indoor tanning products can produce 10 to 15 times as much UV radiation as the midday sun. They stress that the latest findings support the recommendation to lessen ultraviolet exposure.

The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.

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