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Popular but not Safe: Indoor Tanning for Older Adults

In the first study of its kind, researchers were surprised to learn that indoor tanning is popular among older adults. Ten percent of people age 50 to 64 and 8% of those older than 64 years reported tanning indoors. Further, these tanners did not stay in the shade when outside or wear long pants to protect them from the sun. The findings are concerning, considering that skin cancer makes up half of all cancers in the US, and cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are rising.
 
The study, conducted by the Fox Chase Cancer Center on behalf of the National Health Interview Survey is the first study to examine indoor tanning trends into adulthood. As expected, indoor tanning is popular among young adults. Twenty percent of young adults reported indoor tanning, with a greater percentage of females than males partaking. However, for older adults, indoor tanning appears to be as popular for males as it is females. Although the risk of skin cancer is strongly associated with childhood sun exposure and sunburns, indoor tanning throughout adulthood increases the total cumulative exposure to harmful rays; another risk factor. Older suntan enthusiasts, as well as the young, are advised to avoid harmful UV rays, be it indoors or outdoors, to decrease the risk of skin cancer.
 

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