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A new study has revealed that gay and bisexual men are six times more at risk of developing indoor tanning while they are twice likely to report skin cancer when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Ironically, the same is not true for lesbian or bisexual women. According to the study, lesbian or bisexual women have 50 percent less chances of developing indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer when compared heterosexual women.

Lead study author Sarah Arron, associate professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco said that greater exposure to ultraviolet light due to indoor tanning causes skin cancer in gay and bisexual men.

“One likely cause of more skin cancer among gay and bisexual men is greater exposure to ultraviolet radiation caused by indoor tanning,” Sarah said.

The study was based on analysis of 192,575 adult men and women – 66,677 in California and 125,898 from a national survey. The data was collected from California Health Interview Surveys, conducted every two years between 2001 and 2009. After analyzing the data, Aron and her team noted that people link tanning with health and attractiveness while in case of younger people this belief is much stronger. She warned them that the myth has serious consequences and cause skin cancers.

Since data on the outdoor tanning was unavailable, so Aron couldn’t find any strong evidence of outdoor tanning on health. However, previous studies have suggested that people who develop indoor tanning are more likely to have outdoor tanning.

The data also revealed that the number of people reporting skin cancer have shot up nearly six times in 2015 when compared to the number cases in 1975.

With the study, Aron hopes that the study will help in creating awareness among gay and bisexual men who are at high risk of reporting skin cancer. The study will also help in educating the public. With the early detection, we can prevent people from death and decrease mortality from this disease.

It is one of the first study that has found an interlink between being gay or bisexual and skin cancer.

The study appeared in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

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