People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of developing a second primary melanoma than those who don’t, according to new research.
The study by the Washington University School of Medicine confirms that ultraviolet radiation exposure from tanning beds is more dangerous than tanning in the sun.
After evaluating the phenotypic traits, medical history and UVR exposure of 434 melanoma patients, the researchers found that 56 percent of patients who had been exposed to artificial UVR received a second diagnosis of primary melanoma within a year, compared to just 18 percent of patients who didn’t use tanning beds.
“For all patients with additional primary melanomas, those exposed to artificial UVR acquired their second primary melanoma significantly earlier,” the researchers said.
“Median time to diagnosis of second primary melanoma in patients exposed to artificial UVR versus those not exposed was 225 days versus 3.5 years.”
Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the study highlights the need “for heightened surveillance” in melanoma patients who have been exposed to artificial UVR.
“Tanning beds expose persons to artificial UVR with intensities up to 10 times that of natural sunlight,” the researchers said.
“Our study is the first to demonstrate that regardless of age, patients who had second primary melanoma diagnoses were more likely to have had artificial UVR exposure,” the researchers said
Although it has been illegal to operate a commercial solarium in Australia since 2015, many solariums continue to operate illegally and many people have tanning beds in their homes for personal use (this is legal).
According to Sunsmart Victoria, research published in 2008 found that 281 melanomas, 43 deaths, and 2,572 squamous cell carcinomas were attributable to solarium use in Australia each year, at a cost to the health system of around $3 million.