Credit: MSN NZ Health Hub

Australian scientists have finally confirmed that the risk of developing skin cancer before hitting 40 is nearly double among young people who use solariums.

The study findings published in the International Journal of Cancer were from the efforts of a team of researchers led by Dr Anne Cust from the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne.

It is the first study ever to be conducted in the study of skin cancer risk related with the use of solariums, and the association with age.

The study collected data from interviews with 600 of participants from the age 18 to 39 who have been diagnosed with cancer, taking account of their regularity of solarium use.

The exposure to solariums prior the age of 20 doubles the risk of getting skin cancer, said Dr Cust.

Our findings indicate that solarium use causes around three quarters of melanomas occurring in people 18 to 29 years of age who have used a solarium, and the risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer doubles if first exposure to solariums happens before the age of 20, explained the lead researcher.

The study revealed that a large percentage of cases of skin cancer among young people in Australia are preventable just by avoiding the use of solariums.

We estimate that a large proportion - over a 16 per cent - of melanoma cases in young people could be prevented in Australia by avoiding solarium exposure, said Dr Cust.

Although the percentage is quite worrying here in Australia, the overall figures of other developed countries are likely to be even greater.

As compared to other developed countries, Australia is reported to have the lowest frequency of solarium use.

The study had focused on the use of solariums and melanoma risk for people under 40 as mostly younger people are more likely to use solariums and age difference in risk had never been assessed before.

It is evident that increased risk of melanoma is associated with the use of solariums, but Dr Cust said the level of susceptibility of young people to exposure of damaging UV radiation was unknown.

The study has confirmed that with earlier age of solarium use the greater the risk of developing melanoma and that with cumulative use of the tanning procedure, the risk is also increased.