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Sunbeds cause cancer - official

Thursday July 30th, 2009

Sunbeds joined radon gas and tobacco yesterday as an official cause of cancer.

World health officials had until now merely stated that sunlamps and sunbeds were "probable" causes of cancer.

But, in findings reported in the journal Lancet Oncology, scientists said they definitely caused human cancer.

Researchers said the risk of the skin cancer melanoma increased by 75 per cent in people who started tanning devices before the age of 30.

The World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, France, said that all ultra-violet radiation was carcinogenic.

Britain's Health Protection Agency said the findings provided backing for its recent advice on sunbeds.

The HPA says they should never be used by people under the age of 18 and should not be used for cosmetic tanning.

Dr Jill Meara, a radiation expert at the HPA, said: "The advice from IARC is based on a review of recently published scientific evidence, in particular studies on people who first used sunbeds when they were young. There is clear evidence of a skin cancer risk."

The HPA advice states: "If you are over 18 years of age and wish to use a sunbed then use a facility that provides guidance to users. Limit your use of the sunbed - don't have repeated sessions to build up a quick tan before a summer holiday."

Lancet Oncology On-line July 29 2009

Tags: Cancer | Dermatology | General Health | UK News | World Health

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