London: Using a sunbed under the age of 35 almost doubles the risk of developing skin cancer, a study has warned. Scientists found that skin in younger people is more susceptible to cell damage that could eventually trigger tumour growth.
The chance of it becoming cancerous went up by 87 per cent — and every extra sunbed session under the age of 35 upped the risk by 1.8 per cent.
For users over 35 there was at least a 20 per cent greater chance of developing cancer. Some 100,000 adults in the UK have skin cancer, and the number has quadrupled since the late 1970s with the advent of sunbed use and cheap package holidays abroad.
Experts based at the International Prevention Research Institute and the European Institute of Oncology studied more than 12,000 skin cancer victims between 1981 and 2012.
They analysed the impact of sunbed use on men and women from the UK, France, Germany and other European nations. The study found almost 65,000 cases of the deadliest form of skin cancer — melanoma — can be directly linked to sunbed use and it accounts for almost 900 deaths every year in Europe.
Research director Mathieu Boniol urged other countries to follow the UK, which ran a campaign to ban sunbed use by under-18s and coin-operated booths that were being used by children as young as nine. This became law in 2011.
“The 87 per cent should be a warning to people. Sunbeds cause cancer and pose a greater risk the younger you start using them. They are very powerful devices that people often use at a very young age,” the Sun quoted him as saying.
“This research must help push a change in behaviour. It would be a good idea to forbid the sunbed industry from making health claims.
“Our research shows that skin cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to indoor tanning devices. People can get all the Vitamin D they need by occasionally exposing their face and hands to natural sunlight,” he added.