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Keywords:

  • Sunbeds/sunlamps;
  • risk factor;
  • melanoma;
  • ultraviolet radiation;
  • dysplastic nevi

Summary

Sunbed/sunlamp use was recently classified as carcinogenic. This report considers characteristics of those who use sunbeds/sunlamps and the effect of sunbed/sunlamp use on their risk for melanoma within a large case–control study carried out in 1991–1992. Females were more likely than males to have used sunbeds/sunlamps. Use by females increased strongly and significantly with younger ages and with the perceived ability to tan. For females, the individual risk for melanoma increased with typical session time and frequency of sessions. Use before age 20, current use and years of use were not significant. The use patterns of occasional and frequent users were very different. We estimate that typical 5-min sessions would increase the risk for melanoma by 19% for frequent users (10+ sessions) and by 3% for occasional users (1–9 sessions). Body sites that are not generally exposed to sunlight were more common sites of primary melanomas for frequent sunbed/sunlamp users. For males, measures of sunbed/sunlamp use were not significantly associated with melanoma risk.