Study shows tanning beds lead to cancer

(NBC) - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of bathing suit season, and for many, the thought of baring skin that hasn't seen the sun since last fall is simply unbearable. They're flocking to tanning salons.

New research shines a harsh light on tanning beds, confirming the link between indoor tanning and deadly skin cancer.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota gathered data on people with and without melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. They found those who'd had more than 100 tanning sessions had triple the risk for melanoma than those who never used them. The risk went up the more a person tanned.

Even though the study showed it didn't matter how old melanoma victims were when they started using tanning beds, experts like Dr. Electra Paskett say young adults are often oblivious to the risks.

"It's very hard for them to think about cancer because that's an old person's disease, so they think," Paskett said. "It's not just a disease of older people. It is a disease of young adults."

The Indoor Tanning Association points out this latest study is based on people living in Minnesota, a population more likely to have fairer skin and a higher risk for skin cancer anyway.

The organization is calling for more research to clarify the risks.

Meanwhile, dermatologists maintain there's no such thing as a safe tan, whether your rays come from a tanning bed or the sun.

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