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Tanning Beds to Blame for High Incidence of Skin Cancer Found in GBTQ Men

Tanning Beds to Blame for High Incidence of Skin Cancer Found in GBTQ Men

Gay and bisexual men are up to six times more likely to use a tanning bed than straight men, and thusly twice as apt to develop melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, says a new study coming out of UC San Francisco. Researchers, led by Sarah Arron, MD, PhD, a UCSF associate professor of dermatology, sampled data from over 160 000 adult men and women across the United States, determining that the high incidence of skin cancer found in GBTQ men is directly related to “greater exposure to ultraviolet radiation caused by indoor tanning.”

Our own survey data reinforce these findings, linking this disturbing pattern of skin cancer to negative body perception. Among GBTQ men, 33% report purposefully tanning to change the way they look. While having a golden tan is widely perceived as being part of a healthy and attractive image, The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that a tan of any degree is a sign of skin cell damage incurred by dangerous levels of UV radiation, and that regular users of tanning beds are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.

Dr. Arron hopes that her study will create more awareness of the issue with gay and bisexual men, and inspire more frequent screening for skin cancers in those who are most susceptible.

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