Melanoma attributable to sunbed use and tan seeking behaviours: An Italian survey

Sara Gandini, Ignazio Stanganelli, Serena Magi, Laura Mazzoni, Matelda Medri, Veronica Agnoletti, Linda Lombi, Fabio Falcini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and its incidence is increasing worldwide. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the entire UV spectrum as carcinogenic. In many countries, including Italy, the use of tanning equipment by minors and individuals with high risk phenotypes has been banned. This study assessed tan-seeking behaviour in a Mediterranean population with a relatively high melanoma incidence, where a considerable time is spent tanning outdoors. Subjects spending the most time in the sun were typically young single men, who use significantly less sunscreen and sunglasses. The overall prevalence of sunbed usewas 22% in youth (≤35 years old) and18%of them used sunbeds throughout the year. Sunbed use in youth was greater for phenotypes at risk. In Italy, 3.8% of melanoma cases are attributable to sunbed use, more in women (4.2% vs 3.1%, for women and men respectively) and much more in the young (17%). Of 8013 new melanoma cases in 2008 in Italy, 293 were attributable to sunbed use, with a high proportion of these in women (168) and 1045 were attributable to sun exposure. Among youth, 172 cases were attributable to sunbed use and 140 exclusively to sunbed use. This analysis reveals that a large number of cancers each year in Italy could be avoided by changing cultural attitudes to tanning. Sun avoidance and protection is generally inadequate in adults, especially young men. These results have important implications for the primary prevention of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Attributable fraction
  • Melanoma
  • Sun exposure
  • Sunbed
  • Sunscreen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)


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