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Study links tanning beds to skin cancer

November 2, 2011

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Boston – Evidence confirms a link between tanning bed exposure and an increased risk of three types of skin cancer, according to research presented by Mingfeng Zhang, lead researcher and a research fellow in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, on Oct. 24 at an American Association for Cancer Research conference.

Researchers, using the Nurses’ Health Study II, followed 73,494 female nurses for 20 years to investigate the frequency of tanning bed use during high school and college, from ages 25 to 35, and overall average usage during both periods in relation to three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, according to the study abstract.

Compared to non-tanning bed users, the risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma increased by 15 percent for every four visits made to a tanning booth per year, while the risk for melanoma increased by 11 percent, researchers found.

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