- Alejandra Martin
- BBC World
«We don’t just want people to use tanning beds less, we want them to stop using them altogether.»
Professor Harry Moseley, from the University of Dundee in Scotland, is the author of a study on tanning beds presented this week at the World Skin Cancer Congress in Edinburgh.
«We found that if a person between the ages of 20 and 35 uses a sunbed for an average of eight minutes once a week, their risk of having a specific type of cancer by age 55 doubles,» Moseley told the BBC. World.
In other words, the risk increases practically 100%.
Warnings around tanning beds often operate on the cancer known as melanoma, associated with burns.
But Moseley and his colleagues showed that even regular long-term tanning with tanning beds increased the risk of another, more common type of cancer, squamous cell carcinoma. squamous cell carcinoma. The term «squamous cell» refers to a layer of the epidermis called the stratum spinosum.
“This is cancer that spreads, it can be disfiguring and fatal,” Moseley explained. In the UK alone, it is estimated to cause nearly 500 deaths a year.
And the risk of squamous cell carcinoma is even higher with high radiation tanning beds.
«In that case, the risk triples,» that is, it increases by nearly 200%. «That means the person is much more likely to develop cancer. But beauty salons advertise their quick tanning services with high-radiation beds as something positive,» the actor said.
The study was based on data on the use of more than 400 sunbeds in the United Kingdom and had the collaboration of academics from the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands.
«They have a very good method of calculating cancer risk based on UV exposure. So we measured UV radiation from tanning beds and used that method to calculate cancer risk,» Moseley explained.
How to understand the risk?
«The study findings mean that using tanning beds doubles the chance of developing cancer. It’s like rolling a dice. The chance of rolling a six is one in six, but if this chance is doubled, it will be two out of six times.»
Last year the same academic team from Dundee measured the emission levels emitted by sunbeds in England and found that nine out of 10 sunbeds registered radiation levels higher than those considered safe according to European standards.
«Has no sense»
«While other types of cancer such as melanoma are linked to excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation, squamous cell carcinoma is caused by more chronic, cumulative and long-term exposure,» Nina Goad, from the British Association of Dermatologists, told the BBC. .
«A common defense by the industry for tanning beds is that they are safe if there are no burns, but this argument loses force with the new study. People need to be informed of the risks before making a decision.»
Another work released on the occasion of the world congress in Edinburgh indicates that the number of patients admitted to hospitals for treatment of skin cancer in England increased by almost a third in the last five years, according to data from Public Health England.
It is estimated that the increase may be due to the increase in cheaper flights to tourist beach destinations and the use of sunbeds.
Moseley hopes that his study will lead to very concrete changes in behavior.
«Why take such a risk? Why would I use something that I know can double or triple my risk of developing cancer? It doesn’t make sense. We don’t need tanning beds, you can live without them,» he told her. The academic told BBC Mundo.
How would Moseley summarize his message?
«Simply put: stop using tanning beds!»