Promising Strategies to Reduce Use of Indoor Tanning Devices and Prevent Skin Cancer

CDC papers discuss the potential roles of social and family networks, media, and lawmakers in efforts to prevent skin cancer by reducing use of indoor tanning devices, American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports

San Diego, CA, May 7, 2013

Preventing skin cancer by reducing use of indoor tanning devices requires a coordinated approach at the national, state, and local levels suggests a pair of papers by CDC authors in a special theme issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Evidence has shown that use of indoor tanning devices increases the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, and these papers discuss approaches that could help reduce use of indoor tanning devices and prevent future incidence of skin cancers.

Melanoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among adolescents and young adults in the United States. Skin cancer is an urgent public health problem, with treatment costing an estimated $1.7 billion each year, and costs due to lost productivity estimated at $3.8 billion each year.

“Melanoma causes more deaths than any other skin cancer, over 9,000 deaths each year,” says Meg Watson, MPH, of the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in Atlanta. “And it has been increasing in recent years, particularly among non-Hispanic whites. Indoor tanning before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 60%–80% or more, so avoiding or reducing indoor tanning is a simple way to reduce risk of getting or dying from melanoma.”

In the first paper, the authors provide an overview of indoor tanning as a risk factor for skin cancer and discuss possible approaches to reducing use of indoor tanning devices. The second paper presents highlights from a meeting on indoor tanning convened by CDC in August 2012 where participants discussed ways to prevent skin cancer, and gaps in research that could be addressed to inform public health action.

In these two papers, the researchers note that:

Successful intervention efforts will likely need to address multiple levels of influence, from individual-level determinants (i.e., appearance-focused attitudes of those who tan) to the roles of parents, peers, clinicians, schools, the media, the tanning industry, and policymakers.

“Addressing these factors will require collaboration and coordination,” says Dawn M. Holman, MPH, of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “Key partners will need to work with each other and with new partners in various sectors, including media, education, and policy, to align efforts at the national, state, and local levels to reduce indoor tanning. Such an approach has the potential to change tanning attitudes and behaviors and prevent future cases of skin cancer, along with the associated illness, death, and health care costs.”

# # #

Notes for Editors
The following articles appear in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 44/Issue 6 (June 2013), published by Elsevier.

“Preventing Skin Cancer Through Reduction of Indoor Tanning: Current Evidence,” by Meg Watson, MPH; Dawn M. Holman, MPH; Kate A. Fox, MPP; Gery P. Guy, Jr., PhD; Andrew B. Seidenberg, MPH; Blake P Sampson, BS; Craig Sinclair; DeAnn Lazovich, PhD (DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.02.015).

Strategies to Reduce Indoor Tanning: Current Research Gaps and Future Opportunities for Prevention, by Dawn M. Holman, MPH; Kathleen A Fox, MPP; Jeffrey D. Glenn, MPA; Gery P. Guy, Jr., PhD; Meg Watson, MPH; Katie Baker, MPH, DrPH(c); Vilma Cokkinides, PhD; Mark Gottlieb, JD; DeAnn Lazovich, PhD; Frank M Perna, EdD, PhD; Blake P Sampson, BS; Andrew B. Seidenberg, MPH; Craig Sinclair; Alan C. Geller, MPH, RN (DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.02.014).

Full text of the articles is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Brianna Lee at +1 858 534 9407 or eAJPM@ucsd.edu. Journalists wishing to interview the authors should contact CDC’s Media Relations Office at +1 (404) 639-3286 or media@cdc.gov.

About the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (www.ajpmonline.org) is the official journal of The American College of Preventive Medicine (www.acpm.org) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (www.aptrmweb.org). It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health. The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women's health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, with an Impact Factor of 4.044, is ranked 12th out of 157 Public, Environmental and Occupational Health titles and 17th out of 153 General & Internal Medicine titles according to the 2011 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world leading provider of professional information solutions in the Science, Medical, Legal and Risk and Business sectors, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

Media contact
Brianna Lee
+1 858 534 9407
eAJPM@ucsd.edu