Yesterday we covered a study from University researchers which suggested that users of sunbeds could still be at risk of skin cancer even if they don’t see visible burns on their skin. The study showed how dangerous sunbeds can be in putting users at risk of not just melanoma but also Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common form of skin cancer which accounts for 20% of all cases. Professor Harry Moseley, one of the study’s authors, said there is “considerable variation in the output of artificial tanning units which people should be aware of.”
Today, official figures have shown that the number of people in England being admitted to hospital for skin cancer treatment has risen by nearly a third in five years. There were 87,685 admissions in 2007 but by 2011, this had risen to 123,808 and health experts believe that sunbeds, and the desire to have tanned skin all year round could be partly to blame.
The figures, assembled by researchers at Public Health England, do not include treatments given in outpatient units or GP surgeries, and will be presented at this week’s World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh.
The figures showed that the majority of the cancers treated were on the head and neck and that both the most severe form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma – and other forms of skin cancer were on the rise. There were 30% more people admitted for melanoma treatment between 2007 and 2011, and the same period saw a 43% increase in admissions for all other forms of skin cancer.
Chris Woods, Partner and Medical Negligence Solicitor at Mercury Legal Online, said of these latest figures: “It is concerning to see that rates of hospital admissions attributed to all forms of skin cancer have increased. This data reflects the growing number of people we have seen seeking compensation for sunbed-related claims.
“The lack of regulation on tanning salons is frightening and had better regulation been in place, we may have been looking at smaller figures now.”
Sarah Williams, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s worrying to see rising rates of a disease that could largely be prevented.
“Although it may seem that summer’s over, September sun in the UK can still be strong enough to burn, especially for those who have sensitive skin.
If you or a member of your family is concerned about the damage a sunbed has done, and you would like to speak to us about making a claim for compensation, give us a call on 0800 122 3130 or request a call-back at a time convenient for you.