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Study: Indoor tanners are skipping skin cancer screenings

April 27, 2018—It’s pretty well-known that indoor tanning raises the risk of skin cancer—including melanoma, the most dangerous kind. Even so, not enough people who get indoor tans have their skin checked for signs of cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at data on more than 30,000 U.S. adults. And they found that fewer than one-third of indoor tanners had ever seen a doctor for a full-body skin exam.

About 5 million skin cancers are diagnosed every year in the U.S. And just like the sun, indoor tanning exposes the skin to ultraviolet (UV) rays, the cause of most skin cancers.

Learn more about the study’s findings.

Not worth the risk

So just how dangerous is indoor tanning? By some estimates it’s to blame for 400,000 cases of skin cancer in this country every year. Even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of melanoma by 20 percent. And every time you tan, your risk goes up.

What’s more, no type of indoor tanning device is safe. The UV rays from all artificial light sources—including tanning beds, tanning booths and sun lamps—can damage the DNA in skin cells and cause cancer.

But cancer isn’t the only health risk tied to indoor tanning. Excessive exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning can also prematurely age your skin, suppress your immune system, and damage your eyes and cause cataracts.

The clear takeaway: If you love the look of sun-kissed skin, you might consider an FDA-approved self-tanner. Indoor tanning is just too risky. And if you’ve tanned indoors, talk to your doctor about getting regular skin checks. Skin cancers that are caught early are almost always curable, according to the American Cancer Society.

You can test your knowledge about skin cancer by with this quick skin health quiz.

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