London, England --
The British Medical Association (BMA) has recently advised that people should stop using tanning beds due to the risks of ultra-violet radiation. The "Sunbeds" report, from the BMA's Board of Science and Education, calls on the Government to regulate sunbed use in light of research showing that some people are having more than 100 such tanning sessions a year.
"We really need a public health campaign to educate people about the dangers of sunbeds and also myths about tanning," the BMA's head of science, Vivienne Nathanson, said in a statement. "It's ironic, people use sunbeds because they think they'll look better and yet they will probably end up looking old prematurely and possibly getting skin cancer."
"We really need a public health campaign to educate people about the dangers of sunbeds and also myths about tanning
-- Vivienne Nathanson, Head of Science,British Medical Association
Watch that sun! say the medical experts. Stay off the tanning beds, use sun screen outside, and get your body checked regularly for early detection. Unfortunately, one in six people will be diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in their lifetime. One in 75 will face melanoma.
The report said the risk of skin cancer appears to be greatest for the young, with the chances of developing a tumor increasing by up to 20 percent per decade of sunbed use before the age of 56.
Additional Health Risks
Other health risks included premature aging of the skin and damage to the cornea, as people often did not wear protective goggles. There is also increasing evidence that sunbeds have an immune-suppressing effect.
The BMA noted that ultra-violet radiation is sometimes used to treat psoriasis and eczema. "However, in these circumstances a dermatologist records every dose after each treatment and a lifetime total is recorded as a safety measure. This careful dosing does not happen with tanning salons or when people have sunbeds in their home."
Dr. Paul Mansfield, with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the U.S., recently said that he would like to see fewer people hitting tanning beds. "I mean, it is deadly and it is just something you should be concerned about. So wear some sunscreen and cover up and don't go to tanning beds."
Even Outdoor Exercise In the Sun Can Be Dangerous
Be careful if you like to exercise outside -- exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Therefore doctors are advising that the right clothing can make a big difference. "Clothing you can't see the sunlight through is better than thinner clothing you can see through," said Dr. Jeffery Lee, with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Dark and bright colors are better than pale ones since they absorb UV rays, according to experts.
"The brighteners in our detergents are probably good because they also increase the amount of UV radiation absorbed by clothing and reduce the risk," Lee said. "Every time we have a blistering sunburn before the age of 18, we increase the chance we will develop melanoma."
Sunscreen Important For Protection
Research found that while 80 percent of the more benign skin cancers, called basal and squamous cell, turn up in sun-exposed areas, the more deadly type of skin cancer appears where covered areas or pale skin is exposed to large amounts of sun.
Half of those who reach 65 years of age will get skin cancer, according to statistics. But, skin cancer is also the leading killer of people in their 20s and 30s, according to doctors. In fact, many physicians said that they are seeing more cases of skin cancer in younger patients.
One in six people will be diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in their lifetime. One in 75 will face melanoma.
Approximately 20 percent of people diagnosed with melanoma die, so early detection is the key to beating this type of cancer, doctors said.
In essence, stay off the tanning beds, use sun screen outside, and get your body checked regularly for early detection.
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