Skin Cancer and Tanning Bed Use in the Young Female Population

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Stephanie R. Dixon, BS
Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke, VA, USA


Background: The incidence of  skin cancer from indoor tanning-beds has been rising over the past several decades.  In the United States, “an estimated 114,900 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in 2010, with nearly 8,700 resulting in death" (Banerjee, Hay, & Greene, 2013, p. 577).  Increased use of tanning beds, increased time outdoors, and better screening are all factors contributing to new incidence of skin cancer.  This is a knowledge based problem with implications to clinical effectiveness.

Objective: The purpose of the critical review is to find peer-reviewed publications about the effects of the customers' rationalizations and motivations of tanning bed use and skin cancer development among young adult females. Methods: Cox proportional hazards models, cognitive rationalization scale, and latent profile analysis were used to investigate frequency of tanning bed use, cognitive rationalization for tanning bed use, and the effectiveness of intervention efficacy in lowering tanning bed use.  Results: Although the studies were evaluating different aspects of tanning bed use and skin cancer incidence, the results were congruent in the findings.  One study determined that the frequency of tanning bed use among females during high school and college increased their incidence of skin cancer.  Another study sought to show how the cognitive dissonance theory correlates with cognitive rationalizations used by those to justify tanning bed use despite knowledge of associated health risks.  Other results concluded that targeted interventions significantly reduce indoor tanning use, specifically among low-knowledge sub-groups.  Discussion: All three articles appear to be useful in identifying increased incidence of skin cancer and tanning bed use in the young female population.  More research is needed to determine how best to convey the damaging effects of tanning bed exposure to young females as well as alternatives to tanning, including a better understanding of motivation of tanning bed use by this population.