Gay and Bisexual Men May Have an Unhealthy Tanning Habit

Published: March 24, 2015

Steve Williams
Original Article:

A new study suggests that gay and bisexual men are at a significantly increased risk of skin cancer thanks to their tanning habits.

The study, which was reportedly presented by researchers this month at a San Francisco meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, saw researchers from the University of California compare rates of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers among California’s general population using government health surveys from 2001 to 2009.

What they found was that there was a significant elevated risk for melanoma skin cancers among gay and bisexual men compared to heterosexuals. However, there was no such risk found among lesbian and bisexual women. The researchers also noted that based on various lifestyle questions, they could identify gay and bisexual men as being more likely to engage in indoor tanning–making use of sunbeds–than straight men.

To look at more recent, wider reaching data, the researchers looked at national health data from 2013. They found the same pattern appears to hold on a national level, too. The data showed that gay and bisexual men were almost twice as likely to have developed skin cancer as straight men (6.6 percent versus 3.3 percent). In terms of lifestyle, about 5 percent of gay and bisexual men said they’d used indoor tanning in the past twelve months versus 1.7 percent of straight men. Again, lesbian and bisexual women were less likely to tan, and the researchers specifically noted that they were less likely to tan indoors than straight women, too. As a result, cancer rates appeared to reflect that fact.

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