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A new study has suggested that sunbed users are still at risk of developing skin cancer even if they don’t burn their skin.

Researchers from Dundee University and the Netherlands’ Leiden University Medical Centre found that the risk of developing Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a common type of skin cancer, is significantly increased by repeated tanning rather than burning. The findings of the study will be presented at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh this week.

SCC accounts for 20% of all skin cancers, making it the second most common form of the disease. Researchers said sunbed warnings often focus on melanoma, which accounts for just 1% of skin cancers and is associated with burning, whereas SCC is caused by repeated tanning, and not necessarily burning. SCC doesn’t have as high a fatality rate as melanoma, with around 500 people dying from the condition every year in the UK.

As part of the research, academics calculated that the average sunbed user – who is between 20 and 35-years-old and goes on the sunbeds for 12 minutes every eight days – is 90% more likely to have SCC by the time they reach their 50s.

Professor Harry Moseley, one of the study’s authors from the University of Dundee, said: “There is considerable variation in the output of artificial tanning units which people should be aware of.

“The results of our study indicate that the additional UV dose from sunbed use compared to normal day-to-day sun exposure potentially adds a significantly increased risk for development of SCC.”

The same Dundee researchers published another sunbed study in January 2013, measuring the ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels emitted by 400 sunbeds across England. The study showed that as many as nine out of 10 of the sunbeds emitted UV levels that were above European safety limits, and this data was used in this latest study, which also considered the average length that a person uses a sunbed, how many times they do so in a year, as well as an individual’s cumulative UV exposure from the sun.

Chris Woods, Partner and Medical Negligence Solicitor at Mercury Legal Online, said: “There have been many studies into melanoma that have highlighted the danger that sunbeds can have, but very few that examine the risks associated with Squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.

“This study shows that even if there is no visible impact on the skin after sunbed use, such as burning, the average sunbed user is still at risk. Over the last couple of years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of sunbed users seeking compensation with some horrific burns. However, it is perhaps even more frightening to think of the risk associated with people who do not have any visible marks on the skin, and the underlying damage that is being done.”

If you or your loved one is concerned about the damage a sunbed has done, and you would like to speak to us about making a claim for compensation, give our helpful team a call on 0800 122 3130 or request a call-back at a time convenient for you.