It's Official: Sunbeds Cause Cancer (But Moles Are Far Worse)

The BBC reports that there is now conclusive evidence that tanning beds can cause cancer—and not just Tacky Cancer, which makes you look orange, but real live go-see-a-doctor cancer. However, sun exposure and tanning bed radiation both pale in comparison to your mole count, according to an earlier report.

From today’s story:

Previously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessed sunbeds and sunlamps as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. But it now says their use is definitively “carcinogenic to humans”.

It made its decision following a review of research which concluded that the risk of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – was increased by 75% in people who started using sunbeds regularly before the age of 30.

In addition, several studies have linked sunbed use to a raised risk of melanoma of the eye.

What’s funny about this news is it comes just a couple of weeks after a report that says the number of moles on your body, not sunlight, “is the most important factor in the risk of getting this dangerous form of skin cancer.” From that story, dated July 12th:

The scientists involved in the study maintain that sunshine causes only a small proportion of melanoma cases, but in their opinion health warnings would be more useful if they focused on people who have more than 100 moles, and taught them to check regularly the moles for changes in shape, size or colour.


Dr Veronique Bataille, a researcher at King’s College, London, and dermatologist at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, argues that we have overemphasised the risk of sun exposure.

She said: “Let’s keep sunshine in the picture because it does make you age and causes you wrinkles – we have never denied that. But let’s move away from scaring people by saying they are going to die because they go in the sun.”

What can we learn from these stories? Everything is trying to give you cancer. Go to bed.

“‘No doubt’ sunbeds cause cancer” [BBC]
“Sunshine warnings over skin cancer risk ‘overstated'” [Yahoo!]
(Photo: Whatshername?)

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