161 medical professionals sign letter of support for a solarium ban in Victoria
Today on the five year anniversary of anti-solarium campaigner Clare
Oliver’s death, 161 cancer specialists and health professionals of the
Victorian Co-operative Oncology Group have joined together to call on the
Victorian government to follow the lead of New South Wales (NSW) and ban
Clare visited a solarium about 20 times in her early 20s and believed
that these visits contributed to her diagnosis. Clare pioneered the campaign
against sunbeds, determined to use her tragic story of skin cancer, and of a
life lost far too early, to help others avoid the same fate.
Chair of the Victorian Co-operative Oncology Group (VCOG) Skin Cancer
Committee, Mr Simon Donahoe, commented on the strong backing from the medical
community supporting a solarium ban.
“A new review of research shows that using a sun bed before you are 35
boosts your risk of melanoma by 87% (previously thought to be 75%). This adds
to existing evidence showing that solariums are dangerous, and irrefutably
linked to cancer.
“The medical community know the serious implications that skin cancer
has on its victims and their families who face an uncertain future, painful
treatments, high costs, and unimaginable stress. A solarium ban can protect
Victorians and help to reduce melanoma incidence in this state.”
Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria CEO, said: “Clare brought about great change by telling her story, which resulted in the industry being regulated, but more needs to be done.”
“Five years later, her message to young women that no tan is worth
dying for remains sadly relevant. In fact, if current regulations existed 10
years ago, Clare would still have been able to visit solariums.”
“Unfortunately Clare’s story is not an isolated case and with
melanomas generally developing over time with a lag of 10 to 30 years, we will
be seeing a lot more stories like Clare’s surfacing over the next few years.
This problem will continue to grow unless we act now to enforce a ban.”
Mr Harper said there's no place for solariums in society.
“Now that NSW has announced a ban and with Queensland’s health
minister giving it serious consideration, it is the time for Victoria to take
action. Unfortunately for some, like Clare Oliver, it is already too late.”
- Prior to the regulations coming into effect on Feb 1st 2008, there were approx. 436 sites in Victoria operating 1021 tanning units. There has been a reduction of 55% in the number of tanning units, since the regulations came in to effect. The number of sites has decreased even more dramatically by 67%.
- Almost 200 of the 436 sites with a tanning unit closed in the first year after the introduction of legislation, but only 100 further sites have closed in the 3 years since then.
- According to the Environment Protection Authority, there are currently 77 solaria businesses in New South Wales with a total of 215 tanning units compared to 133 businesses possessing a total of 447 tanning units in Victoria.
- An estimated one in six melanomas in young Australians aged 18-29 could be prevented if solariums were shut down.
- It has been estimated that each year in Australia, 281 new melanoma cases, 43 melanoma-related deaths, and 2,572 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma are attributable to solarium use, at a cost to the health system of around $3 million.