Skin Cancer Examinations More Likely for Indoor Tanning Users

Indoor tanning bed users more likely to have done skin cancer self-exams, had professional exams.
Indoor tanning bed users more likely to have done skin cancer self-exams, had professional exams.

HealthDay News — Engaging in ultraviolet (UV) indoor tanning is associated with increased use of skin cancer examinations, according to a research letter published online May 30 in JAMA Dermatology.

Kasey L. Morris, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues obtained data from the National Cancer Institute's Health Information National Trends Survey, administered to 3,285 adults. Participants were asked about engaging in indoor UV tanning and whether they had ever conducted skin cancer self-examinations (SSEs) or undergone professional skin cancer examinations (PSEs) for signs of skin cancer. 

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The researchers found that during the past 12 months, 3.5% of adults reported using an indoor tanning bed at least once. Overall, 75.3% of users and 55.4% of non-users reported having performed an SSE. Fewer people reported having had a PSE, but examinations were more common among indoor tanning bed users versus non-users (60 versus 40.1%). Compared with 17.2% of non-users, 30.7% of users of indoor tanning beds reported engaging in SSEs regularly. Only 9.6% of indoor tanning bed users and 13.7% of non-users reported having regular PSEs; 48.7% of users and 25.8% of nonusers reported having PSEs but not regularly.

"Individuals who engaged in indoor tanning behavior were more likely to have checked their skin for signs of cancer and to have had a PSE of their skin," the authors write.

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