Basal Cell Carcinoma is on the rise
Latest research shows that indoor tanning has increased the incidence of basal cell carcinoma ( BCC ), one of the most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. In general, skin cancer occurs in older people due to skin aging, but lately dermatologists have observed that basal cell carcinoma occurs more and more in younger people. And this increased incidence in young people seems to be due to indoor tanning.
An analysis conducted by Yale dermatologist Dr. David J. Leffell, Informed Susan T. Mayne, the C.-EA Winslow Professor of Epidemiology and cancer epidemiologist of the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) shows that between 1990 and 2004 the number of patients up to 40 years with basal cell carcinoma jumped. This increase has been reported in both men and in women with about 40-50%. These data were confirmed by other studies that have shown similar increases in women under 40 years between (1976 and 2003).
To investigate the relationship between basal cell carcinoma and indoor tanning, postdoctoral researcher Leah M. Ferrucci, and colleagues from the Yale Cancer Center and the Yale School of Medicine, conducted a case control study that included 376 non-Hispanic, Caucasian BCC patients under the age of 40. They were asked about their exposure to the UV rays ( indoor tanning); their responses were then compared with those of a control group consisting of patients with benign, non-UV-related skin conditions.
The results were interesting: it was found that those who were tanning even once had a 69% higher risk of basal cell carcinoma than do those who have never been to the solarium. Although this demonstrates the correlation and not a causal relationship, however, it is suggestive. It also found that the risk of basal cell carcinoma increases as solar exposure is higher. Also, it was shown that this cancer frequently appeared mostly on the torso and limbs, where exposure to ultraviolet rays in indoor tanning is higher.
It is a well-known fact that UV rays are causing cancer. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) included devices that emit UV rays as a type 1 carcinogen, along with smoking, asbestosis and X-rays. Ferrucci said there was a clear increase in both non-melanoma skin cancers and melanomas in patients with a history of indoor tanning. Mayne said that the mechanism by which UV rays lead to skin cancer is plausible. “We’re just looking at it in a new exposure setting. This is about as compelling evidence for causation as you can get in the setting of epidemiologic research.”