TUESDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Those who bronze themselves in tanning beds face a 20 percent increased risk of skin cancer, and that raised risk reaches 87 percent if they start before they are 35 years old, new research indicates.
The European study also estimates that one in every 20 cases (5.4 percent) of the most lethal form of skin cancer, melanoma, can be attributed to tanning bed use.
"Indoor UV tanning devices are real carcinogenic devices, and people should be advised not to attend indoor tanning parlors or to buy them for private use," said lead researcher Philippe Autier, director of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban on tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18. Bans are already in place in Brazil and New South Wales and the idea is gaining popularity in France, Autier said.
Study co-author Mathieu Boniol, who is also from the International Prevention Research Institute, added that "as the use of these devices produces no positive effect to health, it is now in the hands of policy makers to decide how to manage, minimize or remove this risk."
The report was published online July 24 in the BMJ.
To determine the relationship between tanning beds and skin cancer, the researchers analyzed 27 studies published between 1981 and 2012. In all, they identified more than 11,000 cases of skin cancer.
This process, called a meta-analysis, attempts to find patterns across several studies to uncover connections between unrelated research.
By pooling the data, the researchers found a 20 percent increased risk of developing cancer for people who regularly used tanning beds, compared to people who never used the devices. The risk rose to 87 percent if one started tanning before 35, and increased almost 2 percent for each additional tanning session
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