Sunbeds raise all cancer risks - research

Indoor tanning machines are linked to the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma.Photo / Thinkstock
Indoor tanning machines are linked to the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma.Photo / Thinkstock

Sunbeds raise the risk of all skin cancers, particularly when people start using them before the age of 25, researchers warn.

Indoor tanning machines are linked to the most deadly form of skin cancer - melanoma. But a new study claims they can also trigger other damaging forms of the disease (non-melanoma skin cancer, or NMSC) which aren't usually fatal, but can be be disfiguring if left untreated.

NMSC are slow-growing cancers that can look like a skin bump or growth, often on the face, scalp or hands. Sometimes they do not cause any symptoms, but often they may form a skin sore that bleeds easily. If they're not treated they can grow into surrounding tissue or bone.

The latest study shows solarium users have a 67 per cent greater risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer and a 29 per cent higher risk of basal cell carcinoma compared with those who have never used indoor tanning.

It found that exposure to sunbeds before the age of 25 was linked with a significantly higher risk of basal cell carcinoma. Researchers from the University of California in San Francisco analysed 12 studies involving 9,328 cases of NMSC. They concluded sunbed use accounts for 8.2 per cent of squamous cell skin cancers and 3.7 per cent of all basal cell carcinoma cases in the US.

The study, published on bmj.com, said the findings added to the growing body of evidence on the harms of indoor tanning.

- DAILY MAIL

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