Skin cancer patients call for sunbed ban

  • 17/09/2014

Two skin cancer sufferers say New Zealand is falling behind Australia in banning sunbeds.

Palmerston North woman Jessie Anitoni and Australian cancer sufferer Jay Allen believe sun-bedding is to blame for their melanoma.

They've embarked on a campaign calling for New Zealand to follow Australia's lead in outlawing sunbeds.

Ms Anitoni has recently married and become a new mum, but they're milestones she almost missed out on. Three times she's been diagnosed with melanoma.

"It was probably the biggest shock because that was when it was, 'You might not make it. You might not have children.'"

Ms Anitoni wishes she could turn back the clock to tell her 16-year-old self what she now knows about chasing a tan.

"I know for a fact even though I was 16, if someone handed me a form to say that this would lead to cancer, there's no way I would've jumped in them."

Ms Anitoni is convinced her weekly sun-bedding caused aggressive melanomas on her neck, leg and arm.

"I put it down to that exposure because I wasn't a sun person. I thought going into a solarium for 10 minutes was going to be better than sitting in the sun."

But the Melanoma Association says UV radiation from a sunbed is up to six times stronger than the sun.

Ms Anitoni is now campaigning with Mr Allen to get the same ban on sunbeds as across the ditch.

"The Government needs to stop the heartache, stop the suffering – it's up to them," says Mr Allen. "They can do it. They just need to take this issue a lot more seriously than they have been."

The industry here has voluntary standards and guidelines to follow, and Auckland has banned under-18s from using sunbeds.

The Indoor Tanning Association opposes a total ban, saying it comes down to personal choice. But Mr Allen says only a ban will save lives.

3 News

source: newshub archive