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Indoor Tanning: Increased Risk for Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The number of indoor tanning sessions in which someone participates seems to be associated with the risk for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, indicate the results of a Norwegian data analysis. The age of first use and the number of years of indoor tanning did not independently affect the risk, explained Marit B. Veierød, PhD, of the University of Oslo’s Oslo Centre for Biostatistics, and colleagues in JAMA Dermatology. This is reportedly the first study to prospectively investigate a dose-response association between lifetime indoor tanning and squamous cell carcinoma risk.

The squamous cell carcinoma risk was calculated based on information about 159,419 Norwegian women born between 1927 and 1963 who participated in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study, which was established in 1991 with follow-up through 2015. Pigmentation factors as well as sunburns, “sunbathing vacations,” and indoor tanning experiences from childhood forward were all taken into account.

Squamous cell carcinoma is among the world’s most common cancers, and in this cohort, 597 women were diagnosed with it. “Norway has had a ninefold increase in age-standardized incidence among women and a sixfold increase among men since 1963,” wrote Dr. Veierød and colleagues. For the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, “the adjusted hazard ratio for highest use versus never use was 1.83, P < .001 for trend.”

This cohort was part of the larger Norwegian–Swedish Women’s Lifestyle and Health cohort study, an analysis that previously found strong evidence of a dose-response association between indoor tanning and the risk for cutaneous melanoma. “Avoidance of indoor tanning may help prevent not only melanoma, but also squamous cell carcinoma, and our results support the development of policies that regulate indoor tanning,” the researchers concluded.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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