MINNEAPOLIS -- A University of Minnesota study links indoor tanning beds to increased risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

The study was published this week in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The study, which involved 2,268 Minnesotans, found that people who use any type of tanning bed for any amount of time are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma. Also, frequent tanning bed users are up to three times more likely to develop melanoma than those who never use tanning beds.

Frequent users are classified in the study as those who use indoor tanning for more than 50 hours, more than 100 sessions or more than 10 years. The increased risk applies similarly to all ages and genders, the study says.

“We found that it didn’t matter the type of tanning device used; there was no safe tanning device,” said DeAnn Lazovich, the study’s research team leader and an associate professor of epidemiology with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and co-leader of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Prevention and Etiology Research Program. “We also found—and this is new data—that the risk of getting melanoma is associated more with how much a person tans and not the age at which a person starts using tanning devices. Risk rises with frequency of use, regardless of age, gender, or device.”

The study’s results are similar to those found in a study published last year by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

John Overstreet, a spokesman for the Indoor Tanning Association, says that the recent study is contradictory.

“A study just out two weeks ago from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found that UVA light does not cause melanoma,” Overstreet said. “We welcome a more complete body of research that will allow us to advise our customers on how to achieve their goals without unnecessary risk of overexposure.”

Research for the study was provided by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.