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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Calling for support for Julie Morgan MP

We are urging all Welsh MPs to support Julie Morgan’s Private Member’s Bill which would close a loophole in the law to protect the public from the dangers of sunbeds. The Bill is receiving its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday.

We are urging all Welsh MPs to remain in Westminster on Friday to support and vote for the Bill. It requires 100 votes to move to the committee stage as part of its route to the statute book. If it fails to attract this support, it will fall.

Doctors have been concerned for some time about the link between exposure to UV radiation and skin cancer which is indisputable – shown by the recent decision by the International Agency for Research on Cancer to raise the sunbed classification to “carcinogenic to humans” - the highest risk category.

We are particularly concerned by evidence in Wales that children are using sunbeds. Children are especially sensitive to ultraviolet light, and just one day of burning as a child increases the risk of getting skin cancer as an adult.

We must educate people about the dangers of sunbeds and counter the myths about tanning. A suntan is not a sign of good health; a tan means that the skin has been damaged.

A thorough regulation of sunbed operators, and tighter controls will have a positive impact on skin cancer prevention efforts.

This bill will protect vulnerable people. It will be good for the public health of Wales.

My colleague Dr Sharon Blackford, Consultant Dermatologist at Singleton Hospital has also been vocal about these issues:

“We are seeing more and more younger patients with skin cancer, particularly young women who are frequent sunbed users.

“In the past some types of skin cancer were only seen in elderly people, particularly outdoor workers, but now it is commonplace to see patients in their 40’s and even younger with these tumours.

“Dermatologists would never recommend sunbeds for tanning, it's much safer to stay pale and interesting or to use a false tan, or in other words fake it, don't bake it.”

The burns unit at Morriston Hospital has treated patients with burns caused by tanning sessions.

This legislation is vital to stop more young people being exposed to the risk of developing skin cancer.

BMA Cymru Wales is urging all Welsh Members of Parliament to rally behind this important cause and support Julie Morgan on Friday at the second reading.

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