US President Donald Trump may, inadvertently, be helping skin cancer rates in the UK plummet, a new poll suggests.
Nearly three quarters of people who have previously used a UV tanning bed would never do so again because of the 71-year-old’s orange hue.
Skin cancer charities have welcomed the bizarre findings, which could, in theory, save thousands of lives if he sways people away from dangerous sunbeds.
It’s fair to say US President Donald Trump has divided opinions since he was sworn into office last January. Now, a poll has revealed that the most powerful man in the world may, inadvertently, be helping skin cancer rates plummet in the UK
It is known that adults who use a tanning bed before turning 35 increase their risk of melanoma – the most deadly form – by 75 per cent.
Sunbeds emit high amounts of UV rays, which damage the skin cells’ structure and is classed as a carcinogen by global health officials.
Legal guidelines ask sunbed users to wear goggles to protect their eyes from UV rays, which respondents have suggested Trump wears because of his ‘panda eyes’.
But on the back of the new survey, of 1,000 Britons by GPDQ, doctors have warned that just wearing goggles on the sunbed ‘isn’t enough’.
ARE SUNBEDS SAFE?
Sunbeds give out UV light that increases people’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Many sunbeds give out greater UV ray doses than the midday tropical sun.
Tans protect the body from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
A tan from a tanning bed is no safer than one from the sun and may even be more dangerous if:
- UV rays are stronger
- People use them for longer
- People use them frequently
- Users have fair skin or hair
- Users are over 50
Past studies suggest people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before 25 are more likely to develop skin cancer in later life.
Sunburn in childhood also increases the risk.
According to The Sunbeds Regulation Act 2010, it is illegal for people under 18 to use them in the UK.
A similar law is being proposed in the US.
Signs of skin damage are not always obvious for up to 20 years but usually start with a mole that has changed colour or appearance, which may later scab or bleed.
UV rays can also damage people’s eyes, leading to irritation, conjunctivitis or cataracts.
Source: NHS Choices
Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: ‘This is a brilliant report.
‘It’s great to see people are realising the dangers of tanning.
‘UV sun beds are one of the major risks of melanoma – which can cause fatal skin cancer in small proportions of patients.
‘It is good to hear that this had such a dramatic impact and will reduce rate of melanoma.’
Dermatologists have desperately tried to discourage people from using them in recent years due to their substantial links to skin cancer.
Indoor tanning is completely banned in Australia and Brazil, and strict laws are in place in the UK, US and large parts of Europe.
The Skin Cancer Foundation states more people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
Figures show nearly 16,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK each year, while in the US the total is as high as 3.5 million.
It kills around 2,500 every year in the UK and around six times as many in the US, according to statistics.
However, cancer charities estimate cases of skin cancer will rise by seven per cent by 2035 in the UK, and a similar proportion in the US.
The survey, commissioned by British GP-on-demand service GPDQ, comes ahead of World Cancer Day on Sunday, February 4.
It showed that women were most put off by Trump’s unnatural tan, with 76 per cent claiming it had put them off getting another sunbed.
By comparison, 69 per cent of men agreed when they were quizzed about whether the President’s hue put them off getting another sunbed.