(HealthDay News) — Skin cancers linked to indoor tanning are estimated to have cost the U.S. health care system hundreds of millions of dollars in 2015, according to research published online Feb. 28 in the Journal of Cancer Policy.

Researchers estimate that there were 263,000 U.S. cases of tanning device-related skin cancers in 2015. The total medical costs for those cases reached an estimated $343.1 million. Also, the researchers said those skin cancers will lead to a total economic loss of $127.3 billion over the lifetime of those patients.

Despite the known dangers, Americans’ use of indoor tanning rose over the last 20 years. About 30 million people now use the devices at least once a year. There are approximately 25,000 tanning salons nationwide, the researchers said.

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“The use of tanning devices is a significant contributor to illness and premature mortality in the United States, and also represents a major economic burden in terms of the costs of medical care and lost productivity,” the authors write.

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