(HealthDay News) – Sunbed use correlates with a significantly increased risk of melanoma, with a dose-response association noted as well as an increased risk for those who first use sunbeds before age 35, according to a review published online July 24 in BMJ.

Mathieu Boniol, PhD, of the International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon, France, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the burden of melanoma resulting from sunbed use in Western Europe.

The researchers found that, based on 27 studies, ever-use of sunbeds correlated with a significantly increased summary relative risk of 1.20, with no evidence of publication bias. The summary relative risk was 1.25 on restriction of the analysis to cohorts and population-based studies. Dose-response calculations showed that, for each additional session of sunbed use per year, there was a 1.8% increase in the risk of melanoma. Based on 13 informative studies, the summary relative risk was 1.87 for first use of sunbeds before age 35 years, with no indication of between-study heterogeneity. In 2008, in the 15 original member counties of the European Community plus 3 members of the European Free Trade Association, there were an estimated 3,438 cases of sunbed-attributable melanoma, most of which occurred among women (2,341 cases).

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“Melanoma and other skin cancers that are specifically associated with sunbed use are preventable diseases by avoiding exposure to these devices,” the authors write. “Generally, the sunbed industry has not [self-regulated] effectively and has tended to disseminate non-evidence based information, which can deceive consumers.”

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