Melanoma study ‘muddies water’ on solarium use

A UK study finding no link between solarium use and melanoma may impede the push for tougher regulation of the industry, a public health expert says.

University of Sydney senior lecturer Dr Anne Cust (PhD), who led an Australian study finding sunbed use increased melanoma risk by 41% up to the age of 40 years, said a majority of studies had linked sunbed use with an increased risk.

But a recently published case-control study from the UK found ever-use of sunbeds was not a significant risk factor for the malignancy, although a small effect of ever-use or use early in life could not be excluded.

Dr Cust noted 54% of the UK exposure to UV was in private homes rather than tanning salons, suggesting the UV radiation dose may be lower compared to Australian data.

“This new study will muddy the waters… it makes it a little bit more difficult to push ahead with regulation,” she said.

In 2009 WHO declared sunbed use