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More evidence of harms of sunbed use, particularly for young people

24/03/2016 at 09:51:27 | by Liz Tilton

From BMJ - 6th October 2012


Indoor tanning increases risk of the three most common skin cancers

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, either from the sun or from artificial sources, causes skin cancer.
Tanning beds have emerged as a prevalent but preventable source of such exposure. Over the past two decades, acquiring a tan through exposure to artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation has become popular among fair skinned people, particularly adolescents and young adults. The use of such tanning devices has been associated with a significantly increased risk of melanoma. Two linked research papers provice further evidence of the harmful effects of indoor tanning.

A tax on indoor tanning would reduce demand

The use of indoor tanning beds has been established to be a serious risk to human health. In the European Union, Northern Ireland is the latest country to pass legislation that prohibits under 18s from using indoor tanning equipment. Although this will protect children from this risk, more needs to be done if we are to respond to the International Agency for Research on Cancer's suggestion that we need also to "discourage young adults from using indoor tanning equipment."
Globally, the incidence of cutaneous melanoma has increased faster than any other common cancer, with an approximate doubling of rates every 10-20 years in countries with predominantly white populations. For instance, in 2008 there were about 70,000 incidences of, and more than 14,000 deaths from, melanoma in the European Union.

Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use:
systematic review and meta-analysis

What is the estimated burden of melanoma resulting from sunbed use in western Europe?

Sunbed use is associated with a significant increase in the risk of melanoma, with risk increasing with number of sessions and if use starts at a young age (<35 years). the cancerous damage associated with sunbed use is substantial and accounted for about 3438 cases annually.
Previous studies reported an increased risk of cutaneous melanoma associated with sunbed use but no consistent close-response relation. This meta-analysis confirms a doubling of the risk of melanoma when first sunbed use takes place at a younge age, and there was evidence of a close-response relation between amount of sunbed use and risk of melanoma. In Europe an estimated 3438 new cases of melanoma each year are associated with sunbed use.

Indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer:
systematic review and meta-analysis

What is the association between indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer?
People who reported ever using a tanning bed had a 67% higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma and a 29% higher risk of basal cell carcinoma.
Indoor tanning is a known carcinogen for malignant melanoma. Indoor tanning is also associated with non-melanoma skin cancer, especially when exposure occurs early in life.

About the Author

Author Picture - Liz Tilton

Liz Tilton

Secretary to Dr Alison Duncan


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Categories: Press
Tags: Anti-ageing, Sunscreen