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Children At Increased Skin Cancer Risk From Sunbeds

November 13, 2009

A cancer charity group in the UK has warned that 250,000 11 to 17-year-olds are at risk of skin cancer from tanning beds, according to a recent study.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers said a quarter of a million children in the UK are at an increased risk of developing malignant melanoma due to the use of sunbeds.

Catherine Thomson from Cancer Research UK and Professor Chris Twelves from Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine & St James’s University Hospital in Leeds are calling for urgent legislation to ban the use of sunbeds among children in the UK.

They conducted a study of 3101 children to find that 6 percent of 11-17 year olds had used a sunbed, the average age of first use being just 14. Sunbed use was more common in older children and girls, in the north (11 percent) compared with the rest of England (4 percent) and among deprived communities. More than a quarter (26.5 percent) said that they used a sunbed at least once a month.

A second study of 6209 children in six cities showed that sunbed use was highest in Liverpool and Sunderland.

According to AFP, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), listed tanning beds alongside cigarettes and asbestos.

“National legislation to limit access to sunbed salons to those over 18, and close down unsupervised or coin operated salons, is required to stop more children being put at unnecessary risk,” researchers said.

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