Alliance move to reduce skin cancer in Belfast

From today’s IRISH NEWS:

Bid to ban sunbed use

By Anne Madden Health Correspondent

SUN worshippers could soon be kissing sunbeds goodbye in leisure centres across Belfast if a city council motion is passed.

Alliance councillor, Dr David Alderdice, has proposed to ban all tanning equipment from council leisure centres by next April because of concern over rising levels of skin cancer.

The motion was due to be debated at Belfast City Council earlier this week but the meeting was adjourned.

Dr Alderdice, who works as a dermatologist, believes there will be little opposition to the proposal.

“I spend a lot of my time removing cancer from people’s skin particularly young women,” Dr Alderdice said.

“There are a lot of people dying from melanoma which is something we need to tackle by a public awareness campaign.

“It would not make sense to run a publicity drive and continue to have sunbeds in recreational facilities.”

Dr Alderdice explained that it is difficult to monitor people’s use of sunbeds as they can easily go from a council facility to a private salon.

“I think the main point is that there is no such thing as a safe tan – except if you fake it,” he said.

However, Andrew Porter, who runs Zen Tanning Studio in Belfast, said he did not think a ban was necessary.

“I don’t think there is any call to ban sunbeds but there is a need to regulate them,” Mr Porter said.

“Responsible salons ensure that no one has more than one sunbed session in 24 hours but like any business you do get the cowboys.”

The proposal follows a decision by Derry City Council in February to ban sunbeds in leisure centres throughout its area.

At the time Dr Raymond Fulton, a consultant dermatologist at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry, said during holiday times staff treated up to three sunbed users each week.

Northern Ireland has the highest rate of skin cancer per head of population in the world with 30 people dying from the most serious form, melanoma, each year.

People aged under 30 – the group most likely to use sunbeds – are eight times more at risk if they use the equipment more than 10 times a year.

Belfast City Hospital Dermatology Department is holding a melanoma walk-in clinic on Tuesday May 13.

Patients are urged to ring in advance and book an appointment on 028 9026 3538.


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