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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Warning over sunbed deaths
Sunbed
UV light is linked to skin cancer
A leading medical expert has warned that up to 100 people could be dying every year from skin cancer caused by sunbed use.

Research has shown 8% of exposure to UV rays came from sunbeds, and the rest from the sun.

The rays are the main cause of melanoma, which kills 1600 people every year.

Professor Brian Diffey, from Newcastle General Hospital, said that while most cases of the potentially life-threatening cancer were caused by the sun, around 100 could be attributed to sunbeds.

But he urged people not to overreact to the figures.

You can't ban the sun and neither would you want to
Professor Brian Diffey

He said that, as a leisure activity, the death rates were nowhere near as harmful as smoking and drinking which kill thousands annually.

Professor Diffey said: "The point is that 8% or so of the population's exposure to UV comes from sun beds but the other 92% from the sun.

"You can't ban the sun and neither would you want to. The sensible thing is to warn people about the risk."

Professor Diffey added he was not calling for sunbeds to be banned.

He said: "Sunbeds should be discouraged, but prohibition is not warranted, as exposure to the sun - which cannot be regulated - remains the major factor behind the risk of melanoma."

A spokeswoman for the Sunbed Association said measures were already in place to prevent harm being caused, adding that her group promoted responsible tanning.

"Customers will have their skin type and suitability as to whether to tan or not assessed before they are offered a tan, so people don't abuse the sunbeds," she said.





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SEE ALSO:
Q&A: Sunbeds
22 Sep 03  |  Health
Councils urged to ban sunbeds
21 Sep 03  |  Health


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