Sunbed Cancer Risk Trebles In Just 10 Years

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sunbedThe risk of sunbed users developing skin cancer may have trebled over the last decade as sunbeds get stronger, claims a new report.

Sunbeds emit stronger radiation than ever before, and 83 per cent of them exceed the recommended limits. It is estimated that cancer caused by sunbeds could be killing up to 100 people a year.

In the UK, 5,990 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and there are 1,600 deaths from the disease.

Dr Harry Moseley, of Ninewalls Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, revealed results from a survey which tested 133 sunbeds in 50 different premises in Perth and Kinross and the City of Dundee.

The premises ranged from tanning studios, beauty salons, sports centres, hotel leisure complexes, hairdressers and video shops.

Presenting the results to the Society for Radiological Protection today at their meeting on the EU Optical Radiation Safety Directive, Dr Moseley found that 83 per cent of the sunbeds had UV light outputs that exceeded recommendations laid down in the British and European standard.

When the results were compared to a previous survey in Perth and Kinross in 1997, Dr Moseley said that the new data shows that the risk of developing skin cancer from sunbed use is now between two and three times higher than it was estimated in 1997.

In the last 10 years there has been a 30 per cent rise in unregulated, privately operated sunbeds, and there are more sunbeds with new high power lamps. Compared to 1997, the highest power sunbed found today emits more than twice as much harmful UV and UVB radiation.

Dr Moseley also found that many of the sunbeds were unsupervised and coin-operated, with no age limit or restrictions on the number of sessions.

He said that although it was impossible to calculate how many people died from skin cancer caused by sunbeds, it could be around 100 people a year.

He said: "We've compared the cancer risk of exposure with sunbeds to that with sunlight, and what we found was ten years ago there was a comparison of strength between sunbeds and sunlight, but now sunbeds are much stronger.

"More sunbeds now have high power sun lamps which are increasing the output, particularly of UVB light.

"It's hard to say how many cancers are caused by sunbeds, because people who use sunbeds probably sunbathe as well. One study estimated that there are an additional 100 deaths from sunbeds every year.

"You're exposing yourself to powerful ultra-violet radiation. The more you expose yourself, the greater the risk."

Dr Moseley said that it was up to the individual whether they used a sunbed or not, but called for them to be regulated so that users would be fully informed of the risks.

He said: "I think that sunbeds should be regulated and there should be a licensing system. It would force them to ensure information is given to the public, so that people know they're increasing their risk of skin cancer.

"The more you use them the more you increase your risk. If people want to use them and it makes them feel good then that's their decision, but they should know what they're getting into.

"Apart from anything else, you are also going to look saggy and older than you are. People use them to look beautiful, and end up looking old and saggy."

source - Life Style Extra 

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