On the Agenda - Cancer risks of tanning laid bare

- In a nutshell

Almost every day in the UK a woman in her twenties is diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. Figures from Cancer Research UK, which launched its 2009 SunSmart campaign last week, suggest there are twice as many cases of melanoma in this age range as there are of breast cancer.

- How serious is this issue?

About 340 women in their twenties were diagnosed with melanoma last year. It has become the most common kind of cancer for women in their twenties. Cancer Research UK statisticians predict that by 2024 malignant melanoma will be the fourth most common cancer for men and women of all ages.

- What is behind the rise?

Binge tanning on foreign holidays and increasing use of sunbeds are the prime reasons. SunSmart campaign manager Caroline Cerny said: 'The intensity of UV rays in some sunbeds can be more than ten times stronger than the midday sun.'

- Media coverage

The story was picked up by all of the national media. The Daily Telegraph ran with the headline '"Binge tanners" behind skin cancer increase' while the Daily Mirror went with 'Skin cancer killing sunbed generation'. The news also appeared on BBC Breakfast news and BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

- PR support

The story was promoted through Cancer Research UK's in-house press team, which distributed the press release to all mainstream print and broadcast media.

50 women under 40 die from melanoma each year

9% of 11- to 17-year-old girls say they have used a sunbed

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