New research shows that the earlier sunbed use begins, the greater the risk of developing a deadly melanoma before the age of 40
Teenagers who use sunbeds are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with the most dangerous form of skin cancer as those who have never been to a tanning salon, a study has found.
The research reveals that the earlier sunbed use begins, the greater the risk of developing a deadly melanoma before the age of 40.
It shows that those who start before they turn 20 are 88 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with a deadly melanoma than people who have never used a sunbed.
The research – the first of its kind to look at sunbeds and skin cancer diagnosed at a young age – is set to add further weight to the growing campaign for a total ban on sunbeds.
The study suggests that people up to the age of 25 may be more sensitive to the dangers of UV radiation, which is emitted from sunbeds at more intense levels than found in natural daylight.
Of sunbed users diagnosed with skin cancer between the ages of 18 and 29, some 76 per cent were likely to have developed the condition as a direct result of using UV booths.
But for those diagnosed around ten years later, up to the age of 39, only 13 per cent of cases could be attributed to sunbeds.
Skin cancer expert Dr Conal Perrett, from The Cadogan Clinic in London, said: ‘The message here is compelling.
‘The researchers showed that sunbed use is associated with an increased risk of early-onset melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
‘This risk increased with an earlier age at first use. Unfortunately, too many young people continue to use sunbeds without fully appreciating the risks.’
The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Melbourne, involved more than 600 people who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between the ages of 18 and 39.
They found that 23 per cent had used sunbeds at some point in their lives and on average they had started using them at the age of 22.
The risk of developing a melanoma was found to be 41 per cent greater among the sunbed users.
The risk increased the more frequently sunbeds had been used.
If the participants had used a sunbed before the age of 25, the risk of skin cancer compared with ‘never users’ was 64 per cent higher.
The researchers wrote: ‘Our findings indicate that UV radiation exposure from sunbeds is a risk factor for early-onset melanoma, particularly melanoma diagnosed between ages 18 and 29 years.’
Rates of skin cancer in the UK have more than quadrupled in 30 years, from 3.4 cases per 100,000 people in 1977 to 14.7 in 2006.
Now 10,400 cases a year are diagnosed and rates of melanoma have risen faster than for any other cancer.
Legislation to ban sunbed use for under-18s is going through Parliament in a move supported by Cancer Research UK.
Spokesman Ed Yong said: ‘While this new study is relatively small, it suggests that sunbed users may have a higher risk of developing melanoma before the age of 40, as well as later on in life.’
Via Daily Mail