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British experts warn of sunbed use risk
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British experts gave a warning on Tuesday that the majority of people who use sunbeds have significantly increased their risk of life-threatening skin cancer.

A research made public by Cancer Research UK on Tuesday suggests people who start using sunbeds under the age of 35 increase their risk of malignant melanoma by 75 percent.

Researchers, who surveyed 4,000 people, found that 82 percent of sunbed users fell into that category. They also found one in three women, and one in four men had used a sunbed.

The intensity of some ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunbeds can be as much as 15 times higher than that of the midday sun and repeated exposure to UV damages the DNA in skin cells, which increases the risk of skin cancer and makes skin age faster, the researcher said.

According to Rebecca Russell, Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign manager, said the survey results make for a stark warning to young people about the dangers of indoor tanning.

"You can't always see the damage that UV does straight away. It builds up over time. But every time you use a sunbed you are harming your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer," Russell said.

Cancer Research is launching its annual SunSmart campaign by warning that exposure to UV rays in the tanning salon can prove as dangerous as getting burnt on the beach.

The charity is working with the government to review options for possible regulation of the sunbed industry, calling for legislation to prevent under-18s using sunbeds, and a ban on unmanned coin-operated machines.

Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults aged between 15 and 34 and can be fatal.

In Britain almost 9,000 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed each year and more than 1,800 die from the disease each year.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2008)

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