Why I think there should be a National Ban on Sunbed use.
My name is Mark Carter I am aged 55
and live in Messingham with my lovely wife Liz and 3 Cats, we
have been happily married for 29 years.
I was first diagnosed with
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Malignant Melanoma 13 5 years ago, when I noticed an irregular shaped
mole on the right side of my upper chest and went to see my GP, who
decided to remove it. About a week later the Doctor rang me at work and
told me the devastating news that I had Malignant Melanoma.
For 13 .5 years I remained clear of
the disease until April 2012 when I noticed a painful swelling under my
left Armpit. I saw my GP, who put me on antibiotics and the swelling
shrank, but never went away completely. I was referred to a surgeon who
removed the lymph node and sent it for Biopsy. The results showed that
my Cancer had come back and I was referred for a CT scan at Hull Royal
Infirmary, and also had to have an Axillary Dissection to remove most of the Lymph nodes from my left Armpit at Castle Hill Hospital near Hull.
The results of the CT scan showed
fortunately that the Cancer was only confined to the Armpit region and
that the rest of my body was clear. I had a second CT scan in February
2013 and was told the devastating News that my Cancer had spread to the
lungs, and that I was now Stage 4 (Advanced Melanoma). I will soon be
starting a Biological Therapy drug called Zelboraf and hope that it will
work effectively although it is not a cure.
My Malignant Melanoma is not Sunbed
related, as I have never used them. I probably got too much sun exposure
in my youth when I served in the Merchant Navy and there was less
Malignant Melanoma has given my
wife and I years of anxiety and stress, and I have made it my mission to
help raise awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and fight for a ban
on Sunbeds in the UK. Many people are ignorant of the dangers of
Sunbed use and are all to easily swayed by the glamour culture that is
so prevalent today. Cancer research UK estimate that at least 100 people
in the UK die every year from Sunbed related Melanoma. In another study
of 400 tanning units in England 9 out of 10 Sunbeds were found to be
breaking European safety rules. The Cancer Research UK
study also compared the skin cancer risk from using these sunbeds with
the risk from the Mediterranean midday summer sun. The average skin
cancer risk from the sunbeds tested was more than twice that of spending
the same length of time in the Mediterranean midday summer sun.. By
damaging the skin's cellular DNA, too much UV radiation produces genetic
mutations that can lead to skin cancer in later life and the effect is
cumulative over time.
So despite the hype from the Tanning
Industry, using a Sunbed can cause irreversible damage to skin cells. A
tan therefore is not healthy, but skin cells trying to protect
themselves from even further damage. The Tanning Industry has also been
playing the Vitamin D card,
claiming that supplements alone are not enough to produce the Vitamin D
both say that you do not need a Tanning Bed to prevent a vitamin D
lack. You only need short exposures to the sun to produce adequate
amounts of Vitamin D and by maintaining a balanced diet your body
should produce enough to see you through the winter months.
Being a Malignant Melanoma patient I have to avoid sunlight, so I eat a healthy Vitamin D rich diet and take supplements.
Skin Cancer rates are rising
alarmingly in the UK and it it is now the 5th most common Cancer. A
Sunbed Ban would go a long way to help redress this ever rising
problem, it would save lives, and help save the huge cost burden to the
NHS of Skin Cancer treatments.
Brazil has already banned Sunbeds,
and Bans are due to come into force in several states in South Australia
soon. Skin cancer death rates in the UK are actually worse than
Australia. According to an article in the Daily Mail,
in a typical year, 7,850 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in
Australia compared to 5,990 in the UK, but the number of deaths in
Australia is just 1,000 compared to 1,600 in Britain.