Warning over use of sunbeds

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info@newrytimes.com
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Community
Sunbeds are a popular way to top up a fading summer tan or to get one in time for the Christmas party season, but with evidence of health risks associated with sunbed use, the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland are encouraging people to think twice before using them – it isn’t worth the risk. sunbed1Dr Miriam McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health at the PHA, said, “Modern sunbeds work by exposing the user to UV radiation which can be the equivalent of Mediterranean sunlight at midday in August. “Research shows that using a sunbed once a month or more can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, and using sunbeds before the age of 35 years can significantly increase the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer,” she explained. “It’s vitally important that people are aware of the risks associated with sunbed use, and it’s also important that businesses understand the law. Young people who have ‘binge sessions’ in tanning salons are at particular risk. But even occasional use may lead to cancer, premature aging and eye damage. “While people under the age of 18 are legally not allowed to use sunbeds, they may have access to sunbeds owned or rented by family and/or friends – this should be discouraged, and remember there is no safe level of sunbed exposure.” Marbeth Ferguson, Skin Cancer Prevention Co-ordinator at Cancer Focus NI, said, “In the last five years skin cancer diagnoses have increased by almost 20% and the fashion for having tanned skin has certainly contributed to this situation. “There are still people who are ignoring the risks and choosing to use sunbeds. We advise that no one should use sunbeds for cosmetic purposes. Marbeth added, “If you are concerned about skin cancer, for example a mole that has changed in shape, size or colour, you should talk to your GP. Early detection of skin cancer can significantly improve survival so regularly checking your skin is important.

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