KTHV-TV (Little Rock) reports:
… While not the most common, melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and the rates of melanoma have been increasing for at least the last 30 years.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 years old. The risk is rising faster in women 15-29 years old, possibly due to indoor tanning use.
According to statistics, an American dies of melanoma almost every hour. If recognized and treated early, there is a 98% survival rate, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate decreases to 16-62%…
The primary evidence for the claimed link between melanoma and indoor tanning comes from a 2006 study from the International Agency for Carcinogenic Research (IARC), which reported a 75% increase in melanoma incidence among sunbed users whose first sunbed use occurred before age 35.
On its face, this result is in the noise zone of epidemiology. According to the National Cancer Institute:
In epidemiologic research, [risks of less than 100 percent] are considered small and usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias or effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.
One of the major problems in tanning studies is that researchers don’t know how much ultraviolet radiation (outdoor or indoor) any study subjects actually received.
Past this Achilles heel, a reanalysis of the IARC claim by University of Delaware epidemiologist Mia Papas reported that when limited to professional salons, the statistical association between indoor tanning and melanoma essentially vanished, becoming a statistically insignificant increase of six percent — i.e., a zero association, practically speaking.
If you’re worried about melanoma and the survival rate is 98% for early identification, then your best bet is to visit your dermatologist regularly.