Today’s issue of USA Today reports a Mayo Clinic study that reveals a dramatic rise in skin cancer rates among young adults is leading health officials to shed light on the risk factors, specifically tanning salons, which women are more likely to use.
The risk is higher in those exposed to ultraviolet light before age 20. More than a million people use indoor tanning equipment every day, many of them under 18 years of age.
Women under 40 are hit hardest by the escalating incidence of melanoma, according to the Mayo Clinic study published in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings , out today. The results of the study show that from 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 8-fold among young women and 4-fold among young men. Overall and disease-specific survival seemed to improve over time; hazard ratios comparing year of diagnosis with mortality were 0.92 and 0.91, respectively.
Recently England and Wales placed a ban on the use of indoor tanning equipment by persons under 18 years of age. In the United Stated, legislation to ban teen use of tanning beds is pending in a number of States. Studies find that teens whose parents use indoor tanning equipment are more likely to use it themselves.
According to the February 2012 update of the National Conference of State Legislatures , the following states have banned the use of tanning beds by minors under 14 years of age, and some under 18 years of age:
A number of other states require minors to have parental permission to use tanning beds. The Mayo Clinic study underscores the fact that the existing age limits are too low.
In a recent position statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics joined with the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Dermatology in supporting the ban on tanning bed use for all minors.
In order to decrease the risk of skin cancer, the following steps should be taken:
Melanoma Detection: See your dermatologist for a full-body skin examination once a year or more often if you have risk factors for skin cancer.
Identifying malignant melanoma: ABCDE Rule