Tanning beds raise risk of skin cancer – kids need to be barred

Tanning beds raise risk of skin cancer – kids need to be barred

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By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDDec 18 2011

The issue regarding the banning of under-18s from tanning beds has come up again. Manitoba MP James Bezan is pushing for it. The Conservative MP introduced a private members’ bill Thursday that would bar anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed, as well as require tanning salons to improve the warning signs and labels on and around their machines.

Bezan said the World Health Organization lists tanning beds in its highest risk group of things that cause cancer, and the WHO recommends children do not use them. He added that the WHO-International Agency for Research on Cancer found users of tanning beds increase their risk of cancer by 75 per cent if they begin tanning before the age of 30. “We need to take one more step,” Bezan said.

For Bezan this is the second attempt to toughen up regulations for tanning salons. His first bill, introduced in 2010, did not pass before the election was called last spring. It did not deal with barring minors from tanning beds. Instead it focused solely on improving the warning labels.

Bezan, at the time, thought the federal government could not address the use of tanning machines by kids because the salons are licensed by provincial governments. However, he said since then advice has been this is a health issue, and much like Ottawa can bar children from buying cigarettes, it can bar them from using tanning beds.

Endorsing the bill were Dan Demers, director of public issues for the Canadian Cancer Society, and Dr. Ian Landells, president of the Canadian

The issue about banning under-18s from the tanning bed has come up again. Manitoba MP James Bezan is pushing for it. The Conservative MP introduced a private members’ bill Thursday that would bar anyone under the age of 18 from using a tanning bed, as well as require tanning salons to improve the warning signs and labels on and around their machines.

Bezan said the World Health Organization lists tanning beds in its highest risk group of things that cause cancer, and the WHO recommends children do not use them. He added that the WHO-International Agency for Research on Cancer found users of tanning beds increase their risk of cancer by 75 per cent if they begin tanning before the age of 30. “We need to take one more step,” Bezan said.

For Bezan this is the second attempt to toughen up regulations for tanning salons. His first bill, introduced in 2010, did not pass before the election was called last spring. It did not deal with barring minors from tanning beds. Instead it focused solely on improving the warning labels.

Bezan, at the time, thought the federal government could not address the use of tanning machines by kids because the salons are licensed by provincial governments. However, he said since then advice has been this is a health issue, and much like Ottawa can bar children from buying cigarettes, it can bar them from using tanning beds.

Endorsing the bill were Dan Demers, director of public issues for the Canadian Cancer Society, and Dr. Ian Landells, president of the Canadian Dermatology Association. “Indoor tanning devices are carcinogenic — it's that simple,” said Landells. “We need to regulate them.”

“We call on all parliamentarians to support this important initiative that will protect the health of young Canadians across the country,” said Demers. “We hope it will lead to national legislation to regulate this industry which continues to make false claims that tanning isn't dangerous.”

Last year, Manitoba passed a bill requiring anyone under the age of 16 to only be allowed to use tanning beds when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children aged 16 and 17 need a permission slip signed by a parent. Nova Scotia is the only province with a full ban on the use of tanning beds by minors. New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have voluntary regulations.

Steven Gilroy, executive director of the Joint Canadian Tanning Association, said the statistics and research cited by Bezan are misleading. Gilroy accused Bezan of not consulting with the industry prior to introducing this legislation.

Estimates for 2011 predict that 5,500 Canadians would be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer with about 950 deaths, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadians, with 74,100 expected cases in 2011 and 270 expected deaths.

Meanwhile scientists at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut found that young people who tanned on the indoor beds had a 69 percent increased chance of suffering from early-onset basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

“Indoor tanning was strikingly common in our study of young skin cancer patients, especially in the women, which may partially explain why 70 percent of early-onset BCCs are in females,” Susan T. Mayne, the senior author of the study and a professor at the School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Mayne and her colleagues interviewed 750 people younger than 40 years old. They analyzed the type of tanning beds used, for how long and how often, any burns that resulted and the age when the beds were first used. They noted that the risks increased with the number of years the tanning beds had been used.

“We were also surprised to find that one-third of our study participants with BCC had already had at least one additional BCC before age 40, which is very alarming as skin cancers increase in frequency in age,” Mayne added.

The findings, which are reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, support earlier research from the University of Minnesota, where scientists discovered that people who used tanning beds, regardless of the type or for how long, were 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

About 30 million people in the United State use indoor tanning beds, which the World Health Organization classifies as a human carcinogen. In the United States tanning beds are considered a medical device. Medical experts in the United States have called for stronger regulations on the use of tanning beds. Although melanoma only accounts for about for five percent of skin cancer cases it causes the majority of death from the disease. About 70,230 new cases will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Cases of basal cell cancers are also on the rise but they are likely to be cured if detected and treated early.

“Importantly, indoor tanning is a behavior that individuals can change,” said Leah M. Ferrucci, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health and a co-author of the research. “In conjunction with the findings on melanoma, our results for BCC indicate that reducing indoor tanning could translate to a meaningful reduction in the incidence of these two types of skin cancer,” she added.

“We call on all parliamentarians to support this important initiative that will protect the health of young Canadians across the country,” said Demers. “We hope it will lead to national legislation to regulate this industry which continues to make false claims that tanning isn't dangerous.”

Last year, Manitoba passed a bill requiring anyone under the age of 16 to only be allowed to use tanning beds when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children aged 16 and 17 need a permission slip signed by a parent. Nova Scotia is the only province with a full ban on the use of tanning beds by minors. New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have voluntary regulations.

Steven Gilroy, executive director of the Joint Canadian Tanning Association, said the statistics and research cited by Bezan are misleading. Gilroy accused Bezan of not consulting with the industry prior to introducing this legislation.

Estimates for 2011 predict that 5,500 Canadians would be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer with about 950 deaths, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadians, with 74,100 expected cases in 2011 and 270 expected deaths.

Meanwhile scientists at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut found that young people who tanned on the indoor beds had a 69 percent increased chance of suffering from early-onset basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

“Indoor tanning was strikingly common in our study of young skin cancer patients, especially in the women, which may partially explain why 70 percent of early-onset BCCs are in females,” Susan T. Mayne, the senior author of the study and a professor at the School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Mayne and her colleagues interviewed 750 people younger than 40 years old. They analyzed the type of tanning beds used, for how long and how often, any burns that resulted and the age when the beds were first used. They noted that the risks increased with the number of years the tanning beds had been used.

“We were also surprised to find that one-third of our study participants with BCC had already had at least one additional BCC before age 40, which is very alarming as skin cancers increase in frequency in age,” Mayne added.

The findings, which are reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, support earlier research from the University of Minnesota, where scientists discovered that people who used tanning beds, regardless of the type or for how long, were 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

About 30 million people in the United State use indoor tanning beds, which the World Health Organization classifies as a human carcinogen. In the United States tanning beds are considered a medical device. Medical experts in the United States have called for stronger regulations on the use of tanning beds. Although melanoma only accounts for about for five percent of skin cancer cases it causes the majority of death from the disease. About 70,230 new cases will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Cases of basal cell cancers are also on the rise but they are likely to be cured if detected and treated early.

“Importantly, indoor tanning is a behavior that individuals can change,” said Leah M. Ferrucci, a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health and a co-author of the research. “In conjunction with the findings on melanoma, our results for BCC indicate that reducing indoor tanning could translate to a meaningful reduction in the incidence of these two types of skin cancer,” she added.

Source: www.news-medical.net

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