Tanning salon

Tanning salon (flickr/commons / April 2, 2012)

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- Indoor tanning beds may be partly at fault for an increase in skin cancer among young adults, especially women.

A study by experts at the Mayo Clinic showed that the rate of melanoma among women increased eightfold and quadrupled among men between 1970 and 2009. The study, which was released today, examined the medical records of 256 people in a Minnesota county.

Lead investigator Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic, said people who use indoor tanning beds are more likely to get melanoma than those who don't tan.

Efforts by public health officials to encourage people to avoid excessive exposure to UV light exposure, especially in the form of artificial sunlamps, have not persuaded children, adolescents and adults to changing their habits, the Brewer said.

There was a silver lining to the study. Death rates from melanoma fell during the same period studied, suggesting that early medical attention may be helping to save some lives.

"Our results emphasize the importance of active interventions to decrease risk factors associated with melanoma in young individuals," the study said. "Skin screening examinations in young adults are strongly recommended."

Melanoma is a major cause of mortality in the U.S., and is the second most common invasive cancer for young adults behind, according to the Mayo Clinic.