Sunbeds ‘put lives at risk’

Sunbeds 'significantly' increase risk of skin cancer, experts say

People who use sunbeds drastically increase their risk of getting skin cancer, experts have warned.

New research indicates that those who start using sunbeds under the age of 35 increase their risk of malignant melanoma by 75%.

Cancer Research UK surveyed 4,000 people and discovered that 82% of sunbed users were at heightened risk.

The questionnaire also revealed that one in three women and one in four men had used a sunbed at some point in their life.

The survey’s results tie in with the launch of Cancer Research’s annual SunSmart campaign, informing people that exposure to UV rays in a tanning salon can be as dangerous as burning on the beach.

The charity intends to buck the misconception that sunbeds are a safer way to get a tan. The strength of some UV rays from sunbeds can be as much as 15 times higher than rays from the midday sun.

Continued exposure to UV rays damages the DNA in skin cells, which increases the risk of skin cancer and speeds up skin ageing.

Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer among young adults aged 15 to 34. Nearly 9,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year, with over 1,800 people dying from the disease.

Rebecca Russell, Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign manager commented: ‘You can’t always see the damage that UV does straight away. It builds up over time. But every time you use a sunbed you are harming your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer.’

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