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Sunbed Tanning Increases Skin Cancer Risk in Young Adults

Update Date: Jul 25, 2012 08:56 AM EDT

Sunbed use contributes quite a lot to the large number of cutaneous melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year. 

Apparently, 5.4 percent of the total number of new cases of the disease diagnosed each year in Europe is related to sunbed use, says a new study.

Experts say that people who use sunbed are at 20 percent higher risk than others of contracting skin cancer.  Also, the risk doubles if a person starts using a sunbed before age 35. Experts say that a "tougher action" needs to be taken in order to reduce the risk.

For this study, researchers from the International Prevention Research Institute in France and the European Institute of Oncology in Italy analyzed the results of 27 separate studies on skin cancer and sunbed use between 1981 and 2012. Countries included the UK, France and Germany, stated the press release. 

In Western Europe, Sunbeds have become of the main cause of non-solar source of UV exposure (which is linked to skin cancer).

The analysis included a total of 11,428 skin cancer cases. The researchers concluded that the risk of cancer from sun bed use was at 20% but rose to 87% if the exposure was before 35 years of age.

Also, they said that the risk rose by 1.8% for each sunbed session every year. The researchers also estimated that out of the 63,942 new cases of melanoma diagnosed every year in 18 Western European countries, sunbed use was responsible for a total of 4232 deaths.

However, the authors believe that the previous studies have perhaps underestimated the risks of indoor tanning since the equipments are relatively new in the market. They say that more studies in future could give a better picture of the risk involved and may display higher risk.

In conclusion, the authors say that melanoma and other types of skin cancers associated with UV rays exposure can be prevented by avoiding the usage of sunbeds.

They argue that the sunbed industry has not shown an ability to "self-regulate effectively" but instead give "information intended to deceive consumers", the press release states.

The authors also said that indoor tanning must be restricted for people under 18 years of age and also, unsupervised tanning salons should be banned.

The study was originally published in British Medical Journal.

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