Study Finds Indoor Tanning Raises Melanoma Risk

June 1, 2010

The Philadelphia Inquirer

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that tanning salons are feeling burned: their industry has been besieged by investigations, tougher restrictions, and a hefty new tax, as critics ranging from the World Health Organization to municipal health departments decry indoor tanning as harmful. Adding to the heat, a rigorous new study finds that indoor tanning raises the risk of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, by 75 percent. William James, MD, vice chair of Dermatology and president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said the link between indoor tanning and skin cancer is now well-established. "Early studies showed trends," he said. "The latest ones are quite definitive." Penn patients, Lois Vespe, 44, of Cherry Hill, who is light complected, despite her Italian heritage, figures she made more than 100 trips to salons in her early 20s. In January, a suspicious mole on her back turned out to be melanoma, fortunately at an early, curable stage. "I would never have gone to the tanning salon if I knew the dangers," she said. "We had doctors who told us going to a tanning salon was safer than sunbathing." Read More