Melanoma is currently one of the more frequent cancers among adolescents and young adults, and from 1975 to 2000, was the most frequent cancer in people ages 15–29. It is largely attributable to excessive ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices. Indoor tanning prior to age 30 has been strongly associated with increased melanoma risk, especially among young women tanners, who are six times more likely to develop melanoma than similarly aged women who do not use indoor tanning.
Based on the increasing levels of indoor tanning usage and data documenting a rising incidence of melanoma, DCCPS and its partners identified strategies to reduce indoor tanning. The 2014 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer included DCCPS staff contributors and cited DCCPS-funded investigators who provided vital data concerning indoor tanning, sunburn, sun safety practices, and interventions. In addition to being the primary funder of skin cancer prevention research, DCCPS convened expert panels, conducted literature reviews, and continued collaborative research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to publish data concerning indoor tanning. Indoor tanning has steadily dropped, especially among adolescent girls (to 5.7% from 25%) and young women.