People who use sunbeds at melanoma risk

Sydney: A study has found that people under the age of 30, who use solariums more than 10 times, are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.

The Australian study, which is the first to link sunbed use with early-onset melanoma, found the median age for first using a sunbed was 22 in people who later developed melanoma.

But the study, based on a sample of more than 600 people diagnosed with early-onset melanoma, recorded sunbed use in people as young as 14.

"The increasing risk associated with an earlier age at first use adds further support to efforts to restrict minors and discourage young adults from using sunbeds," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted the study as saying.

"Sunbed use is a completely avoidable but increasingly prevalent risk behaviour and, on the evidence of this study, causes some 76 percent of melanomas occurring in people 18-29 years of age who have ever used a sunbed," it revealed.

The researchers` conclusions are being used by the Greens to push for an all-out ban on tanning beds in NSW, although a similar attempt to limit their use among young people collapsed with the change of government earlier this year.

Dr Anne Cust, the study`s lead author and a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, said there was no question the beds should be regulated.

"The main concern is that people who use them don`t understand the risks. I work in cancer prevention, so I guess my point of view is for further regulation to protect young people," she said.

Melanoma accounts for about a third of NSW cancers in people under 30 and is the most common cancer in women aged 15-29 years.

The study has been published in the International Journal of Cancer.


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