Regional Sunbed Campaign launched at Mater Hospital

25/08/2010

Today at the Mater hospital, the Public health Agency launched their latest campaign to raise awareness of the health effects of sunbed use, especially among young people.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Northern Ireland and accounts for more than one quarter of all individuals diagnosed with cancer. There has been a dramatic increase in cases over the years with malignant melanoma skin cancer cases nearly trebling in 25 years. ¹

Today at the Mater hospital, the Public health Agency launched their latest campaign to raise awareness of the health effects of sunbed use, especially among young people.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Northern Ireland and accounts for more than one quarter of all individuals diagnosed with cancer. There has been a dramatic increase in cases over the years with malignant melanoma skin cancer cases nearly trebling in 25 years. ¹

Research shows that using a sunbed once a month or more can increase the risk of developing skin cancer by more than half and using sunbeds before the age of 35 years can increase the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer by up to 75%.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Clifford McMillan, Trust Consultant Dermatologist said: “During my time as a Consultant Dermatologist the workload pattern has shifted to the point where dealing with skin cancer or potential skin cancer now accounts for the major part of my work. Over the last 20-30 years melanoma incidence has been doubling every decade. It is the most dangerous of the common skin cancers and affects down into a much younger age group. It is now one of the commonest cancers in young women who also happen to be the group most likely to use sunbeds.”

Risks of using a sun bed
While there are a number of short term health effects from using sunbeds, such as, burnt painful skin; skin dryness; bumpy, itchy skin and possible eye irritations, the World Health Organization (WHO) states there are a number of long term health effects including:

• a significantly higher risk of skin cancer including malignant melanoma;
• eye damage including a higher risk of cataracts – if appropriate eye protection is not worn;
• accelerated skin damage, including premature ageing of the skin.

The sunbed campaign will run from 25 August until 3 October 2010

For further information on the dangers of sunbeds and skin cancer visit www.careinthesun.org or call the Ulster Cancer Foundation’s freephone cancer information and support helpline 0800 783 3339.