Some skin cancer survivors addicted to tanning

July 15, 2013

One in seven survivors of basal cell carcinoma returns to indoor tanning beds despite their history of skin cancer, results of a new study indicate.

One in seven survivors of basal cell carcinoma returns to indoor tanning beds despite their history of skin cancer, results of a new study indicate.

Investigators with Yale University School of Medicine examined the behaviors of 178 patients who had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and had acknowledged visiting tanning beds before their diagnosis, according to the study.

The patients were contacted one to four years after their diagnosis and were assessed for tanning dependence using a modified four-item “Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener (mCAGE)” questionnaire. Patients who indicated two or more affirmative responses were considered to have symptoms of tanning dependence.

Fifteen percent of the patients who used indoor tanning devices before their BCC diagnosis had also tanned in the previous year of follow-up. The median number of indoor tanning sessions was 10 in those who admitted having tanned.

“Those who tanned indoors after BCC diagnosis were more likely to have symptoms of tanning dependence (58 percent) than those who had not tanned indoors since diagnosis (38 percent) (P=0.06),” study authors wrote.

The findings suggest that “tanning dependence may contribute to continued indoor tanning in spite of health consequences,” the researchers concluded. “Our findings would benefit from replication but suggest that clinicians should discuss the risks of tanning indoors with BCC survivors who continue this behavior and be cognizant of tanning dependence, which can be assessed clinically with a recently validated measure.”

The study was published online July 3 in JAMA Dermatology

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