Skin cancer caused by too much sunbed kills two every day
SUNBEDS are responsible for almost 800 skin cancer deaths across Europe every year, it has emerged.
One in 20 cases of skin cancer is due to sunbed use, say experts. And the younger someone uses the fake tanning equipment, the greater their risk, they warn.
Indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of the disease, by 40 per cent in people under 35.
Despite on-going warnings about the health risks, around three million people in the UK still use sunbeds. And most of those who use them do so on a regular basis.
Dr Mathieu Boniol, of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, has discovered people who use sunbeds are at least 20 per cent more likely to develop skin cancer than those who have never been exposed to them.
His study also highlights how the risk increases to 75 per cent in people who start using the beds before the age of 18.
Germany tops the table of sunbed-related skin cancer deaths, with 1,404 reported between 2005 and 2011. The UK is second with 444 deaths over the same time period. Countries with the next highest levels, in descending order, are the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland.
Dr Boniol said: “Sunbed use has a plethora of negative health effects and is associated with a significant increase in the risk of melanoma.
“This risk increases with the number of sunbed sessions and with initial usage at a young age. The cancerous damage associated with sunbed use is substantial and could be avoided by strict regulations.”
Under-18s have been banned from using sunbeds in Scotland and the expert has called for other European countries to follow this lead. He also called for unsupervised salons to be banned to ensure youngsters have no access to the beds.
He studied cancer rates over six years and found around 64,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year in Europe, with an estimated 5.4 per cent related to sunbeds. Sun exposure is the most significant environmental cause of skin cancer, but sunbeds have become the main non-solar source of UV radiation in Western Europe. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed women were twice as likely to contract and die from skin cancer than men.
The Scotsman yesterday revealed the number of people in Scotland in their 50s with malignant melanoma has tripled in the last 30 years.
NHS Tayside Consultant Dermatologist Dr Colin Fleming, said: “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK but most cases could be prevented. The number of people getting it is rising each year at an alarming rate and it is predicted to rise faster than any other cancer in Scotland over the next 15 years.”
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