Indoor Tanning Linked to Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Last month, in the post, “Indoor Tanning; Should it Be Banned?” I talked about several studies which showed a much higher risk for developing melanoma in those who use tanning beds. But this week a new study showed a high rate of both basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinomas well. The study was published in the British medical journal BMJ.

    According to the study:

    • Those who have used tanning beds are 29 percent more likely to develop basal-cell carcinoma than those who have never used a tanning bed
    • Those who have used tanning beds are 67 percent more likely to develop squamous-cell carcinoma than those who have never used a tanning bed
    • Those who used tanning beds before the age of 25 were at highest risk

    The study looked at 12 previous studies, which included over 80,000 people in six different countries. While indoor tanning has been linked to melanoma, this study shows a link to the less dangerous but more commonly diagnosed types of skin cancer. Because those who began tanning at a young age were most at risk, lead author of the study, Dr. Eleni Linos, stated, “its hard to argue with regulations to protect children from cancer.” [1] A number of states have enacted regulations either banning those under 18 from using tanning beds or requiring parental permission.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    One concern was that the results of the study could be skewed because fair-skinned people, who are higher at risk of developing skin cancer, used tanning beds more often. However, researchers believe that because most of the original studies had already taken this into account, this factor alone would account for the substantial increase in skin cancer rates of those using indoor tanning.


    Based on the widespread use of indoor tanning, some studies have shown that up to one-third of all people have used indoor tanning at some time, this could be hundreds of thousands of cases of skin cancer in the United States that can be directly attributed to tanning beds. But this problem is not limited to just the U.S., studies from other countries, Australia, France, Denmark, Germany and Sweden, all show that anywhere between 10 percent and 35 percent of their populations have used a tanning bed at least once in their lives.




    “Indoor Tanning and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” 2012, Oct. 2, Eleni Linos et al, BMJ


Published On: October 04, 2012