Exposure to indoor tanning without burning and melanoma risk by sunburn history

Rachel Isaksson Vogel, Rehana L. Ahmed, Heather H. Nelson, Marianne Berwick, Martin A. Weinstock, Deann Lazovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Indoor tanning is carcinogenic to humans. Individuals report that they tan indoors before planning to be in the sun to prevent sunburns, but whether skin cancer is subsequently reduced is unknown. Using a population-based case-control study, we calculated the association between melanoma and indoor tanning after excluding exposed participants reporting indoor tanning-related burns, stratified by their number of lifetime sunburns (0, 1-2, 3-5, >5). Confounding was addressed using propensity score analysis methods. All statistical tests were two-sided. We observed increased risk of melanoma across all sunburn categories for participants who had tanned indoors without burning compared with those who never tanned indoors, including those who reported zero lifetime sunburns (odds ratio = 3.87; 95% confidence interval = 1.68 to 8.91; P =. 002). These data provide evidence that indoor tanning is a risk factor for melanoma even among persons who reported never experiencing burns from indoor tanning or outdoor sun exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdju219
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 9 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (5R01CA106807 and P30 CA77598) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (UL1TR000114).


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