Indoor tanners are more likely to undergo skin cancer screenings and begin screenings at an earlier age compared with nontanners, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.

For this study, researchers analyzed the data of 30,352 adult respondents from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey. Participants were asked if they had ever used an indoor tanning device (eg, sunlamp, sunbed, tanning booth), and were also asked if they had ever undergone head-to-toe skin screening with a healthcare provider and what the cause of the screening was. Demographic data such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, employment status, and marital status were also assessed.

Results showed that a total of 4987 (16.43%) survey participants had used an indoor tanning device, of whom 1077 (21.59%) had tanned in the past year; 1505 (30.18%) indoor tanners and 4951 (19.52%) nontanners had undergone screening for skin cancer. 

Correlates that were significantly associated with screening for both groups were older age, higher household income, patients who seek out online health information, family history of melanoma or skin cancer, very high SPF sunscreen use, and having applied a spray on tan.

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Other remaining variables that were significant for screening pertained only to nontanners, including white race, non-Hispanic ethnicity, email use, having a regular physician/clinic, emergency room visits, previous cancer history, no concern about paying medical bills, sun protection, and sunless self-tanning.

Reference

Heckman CJ, Handork E, Auerbach MV. Prevalence and correlates of skin cancer screening among indoor tanners and nontanners [published online April 4, 2018]. JAMA Oncol. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0163