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Few Tie Tanning Bed Avoidance to Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Some characteristics associated with indoor tanning use differ by gender

TUESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Indoor tanning use is higher among women than men, but few individuals of either gender say that avoidance of tanning beds reduces skin cancer risk, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

In a cross-sectional study, Kelvin Choi, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues evaluated 2,869 white participants, aged 18 to 64 years, to assess the prevalence and characteristics related to indoor tanning use over the last 12 months. The investigators also asked a random subset of 821 participants questions about skin cancer prevention knowledge and attitudes.

The investigators found that 18.1 percent of women and 6.3 percent of men reported tanning indoors in the past 12 months. While women residing in the Midwest and the South and who used spray tanning products were more likely to report tanning indoors, women who were older, were less educated, had lower income, and used sunscreen regularly were less likely to report tanning indoors. Men more likely to report indoor tanning included those who lived in metropolitan areas and used spray tanning products. However, men who were obese and older were less likely to report indoor tanning. Among the random subset of participants who were asked questions regarding skin cancer prevention, 13.3 percent of women and 4.2 percent of men suggested that avoidance of tanning bed use could reduce their risks of skin cancer.

"Clinician-patient communication on risks of indoor tanning may be helpful to reduce indoor tanning use," the authors write.

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