Early sunbed use ups melanoma risk 75%

In collaboration with the Press Association

Using sunbeds before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing the most aggressive form of skin cancer by as much as 75 per cent, scientists have concluded.

The research, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer's working group on UV and skin cancer, reviewed all previous studies on the topic up to March 2006.

"Young adults should be discouraged from using indoor tanning equipment and restricted access to sunbeds by minors should be strongly considered," said the team.

Overall, men and women of all ages who had used a sunbed during the course of their lives were found to have a 15 per cent increased risk of melanoma skin cancer.

The researchers also said there was a link between sunbed use and squamous cell carcinoma, a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Sunbeds have only entered widespread use relatively recently and cancer may not become evident for many years so further risks may remain to be uncovered, the scientists added.