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Skin Cancer Risk Ignored By The Young: Survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 16 NZPA - The "Sun Smart" message is slowly getting through -- but the dangers of sunbeds continue to be ignored by young New Zealanders, according to new research by Southern Cross Health Society.

A survey of 1000 society members revealed that of 33 percent of those aged 21-29 had used a sunbed in the past,27 percent would consider using one again and 3 percent were regular users.

Although 36 percent of respondents in the 30-54 age group had used a sunbed in the past, only 14 percent would consider doing so again.

Southern Cross Healthcare Group CEO Dr Ian McPherson said it appeared some young New Zealanders were either not aware of, or choosing to ignore, the dangers of sunbed use.

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer has calculated there is a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma for those who first use sunbeds in their teens or twenties. Melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer that can strike at any age."

The survey also found that young New Zealanders were also increasing their risk of skin cancer by allowing themselves to burn in the sun last year, 89 percent of those aged 21-29, compared to 73 percent of those aged 30-54, 49 percent of those aged 55-64, and 27 percent of those aged 65 and over.

Dr McPherson said though everyone knew excessive sun exposure was incredibly bad for skin, the survey indicated a tan remained desirable for the young and for females in particular.


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