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Tanning Beds Increase Risk of Developing a Second Primary Melanoma

People who use tanning beds have a much higher risk of developing a secondary primary melanoma and at a faster rate than those who avoid artificial UV radiation (UVR), according to a study recently published this year in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Patients who have already developed a primary melanoma are 25 times more likely to be diagnosed with a second primary melanoma compared to the general population. Researchers at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center call the risk for secondary primary melanoma “continuous,” and say it can prevail for decades.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, evaluated 434 patients with melanoma. They found that in the first year of the initial melanoma detection, 56 percent of patients who had been exposed to artificial UVR received a second diagnosis of primary melanoma. Whereas only 18 percent of patients who didn’t use tanning beds were diagnosed with a second primary melanoma.

For 16 years, the researchers studied the instance of second primary melanomas. Over that time, they discovered that overall 25.2 percent of tanning bed users developed primary melanoma for a second time, compared to only 18.6 percent for nonusers. Those exposed to UVR experienced a median time of 225 days to develop a second primary melanoma, and for non-exposed patients, it was 1,280 days.

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