| 16.1°C Dublin

Fresh warning on sunbed cancer risk

Using sunbeds can significantly increase the risk of a potentially serious skin cancer that is more common than melanoma, a study suggests.

Researchers said warnings about sunbeds often focus on melanoma, the least common type of skin cancer, which is linked to sunburn.

However, scientists at the University of Dundee and Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands have issued a warning about squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) - the second most common type of skin cancer.

They said it is caused by longer-term, cumulative ultraviolet exposure such as through repeated tanning, rather than isolated incidents of burning.

The team looked at UV intensity levels recorded in a previous study, the average length of sunbed sessions, the number of sessions each year, as well as a person's cumulative UV exposure from the sun, and then applied an equation that links UV exposure and SCC incidence, to predict risk to people who use sunbeds.

The researchers found that by the age of 55, people who regularly used a sunbed were 90pc more likely to develop SCC than those who did not.

Sunbed use was defined as having a 12-minute session about every eight days, or a six-minute session every four days, over a 15-year period from age 20 to 35, using a sunbed with a median UV dose.

For high dose sunbeds the risk is increased by 180pc.