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STUDY: Tanned Gay, Bi Men at Greater Risk of Skin Cancer

STUDY: Tanned Gay, Bi Men at Greater Risk of Skin Cancer


The new findings from UCSF also reveal lesbians and bisexual women are avoiding tanning beds far more than straight women.

A newly released health study shows that the indoor tanning trend is as popular as ever among gay and bisexual men, who are six times more likely than their straight counterparts to indulge in indoor tanning, according to scientists, and as a result, are two times more likely to report skin cancer. 

The research, which was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, also looked at gay and bisexual women. The researchers found that lesbians and bisexual women are half as likely as straight women to engage in the use of indoor tanning methods, and it follows that they are half as likely to experience skin cancer as a result. 

In a special report for LGBT Health MonthThe Advocate named indoor tanning the number one unhealthy bad habit that is killing LGBT people. 

“One likely cause of more skin cancer among gay and bisexual men is greater exposure to ultraviolet radiation caused by indoor tanning,” said Sarah Arron, the associate professor at UCSF who led the study and the director of the school’s High Risk Cancer Program, in a statement on Newswise. “Many people, especially younger people, associate tanning with health and attractiveness, and unfortunately, that myth has serious consequences.”

Similar findings were reported in March following a study of gay and bisexual men (also led by Arron of UCSF), but this month’s results are exceptional because they come with the inclusion of statistics for gay and bisexual women. 


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