back to article Skin cancer claims sun bed 'addict'

A 29-year-old Salford mother of two has died of skin cancer thought to have been caused by excessive sun bed use, the Manchester Evening News reports. Zita Farrelly's two-sessions-per-day "addiction" started at 14. She kicked the habit at 21, but by then it was "too late". Last August, she discovered a mole which turned out to …


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  1. Luke Wells

    Girls wont listen

    Unfortunatly the media tells young girls these days that they have to be tanarexics (size 0 and crispy brown) the number of young girls in this country that walk around looking like they have not eaten in weeks, and that they sleep in pizza ovens is unreal.

    Don't expect anyone to take notice of the fact that someone has died of sunbed useage, infact, it will probably increase sunbed sales as girls learn that it is quite possible to be a heavy sunbed user and to live into their twentys!

  2. Ted Treen

    No headlines for NuLab...

    And yet with the current paranoia over cigarettes (no smoking on an unenclosed railway platform, for example), there has been virtually no attempt at regulation/control of an industry which is aimed primarily at younger females. There is little or no control over the machines themselves, and absolutely nothing to stop youngsters having as many sessions per day as they can afford.

    Don't get me wrong, I abhor Gov't control and nannying - taken to heights of which Stalin would have been proud over the last 10 years - but tragic cases such as this one highlight that a totally unregulated industry using potentially deadly machinery will rarely regulate itself responsibly.

    I'm also sure that the lack of voting power vested in 14-17yr old girls wouldn't have anything to do with this "oversight", would it Mr Brown?

  3. Ash

    In other shock news...

    Binge drinking causes cirrhosis of the liver, smoking causes lung cancer, and thalidomide causes infant deformity if taken during pregnancy.

    Besides, the chances of anyone who reads this site getting a tan by natural or artificial means are slim; monitor glare doesn't count.

  4. Lloyd

    It's a shame

    Doctors in this country tend to view skin cancer as something very serious whereas in Oz where people get it all the time it's considered routine. From speaking to my antipodean mates (1 in particular who had a recurring skin cancer) it would appear that UK doctors are pretty ignorant of treatment compared to the Ozzies, we should get some sort of oncology exchange program going.

  5. daniel

    Re; It's a shame

    I agree that doctors - and not just oncology specialists - need to exchange information: What is exceptional in one country is the norm elsewhere...

    I can understand skin melanoma in Oz being a problem due to the environment, but this is not supposed to be a real risk in the UK (bar global warming).

    There is a real health risk associated with UV's... even though there are probably not that many deaths through this, and it is not a mediatic and passionate subject.

    There are probably more people killed due to tanning parlour induced cancer than killed from *legally* kept firearms in the UK, but UV parlours are nice, and do not have the same passion and media value as (ewww, evil) guns that James Bond (Sean Connery) managed to convince us that should never be used... Will he now do an advert to promote a UV bed hand-in? (that way he can strip naked, lay in the snow and toss rocks at SMERSH agents...)

    Na, no media coverage ergo no political hay. So what, one person more died, but no-one is really covering the problem, so the powers that be probably don't give a stuff...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: It's a shame (UK treatment)

    As someone who was diagnosed with skin cancer (malignant melanoma) just over two years ago I have to dispute the comments about the standard of care in the UK, at least on behalf of my UK consultant.

    When I spotted the offending mole and alerted my GP, I was asked to observe the mole for signs of change and then referred when I went back after noticing change in the few weeks since my initial concern. The consultant (a specialist in skin cancer) reassured me but advised the mole should be removed and a examined. The results came back positive (much to my shock) and I had a further operation to remove a large portion of skin (down to the muscle) from around the original mole.

    I've since had a further 4 operations to remove other moles I have identified as being suspicious (which thankfully all came back clear), but once bitten... and my consultant is only too willing to do whatever is necessary. I'm still in the phase of having 3-monthly examinations, and I'm unable to get life insurance for the next 3 years, but I do feel quite well looked after.

    I know that when younger I had been exposed to too much sun but it wasn't of great concern in my youth and skin cancer was not something I'd heard a great deal about. Now I know more I avoid the sun (in fact it makes me miserable). When I undress and look in the mirror and see my pale complexion it doesn't bother me, but I can't help feeling awkward when I go to a pool or other public place and people look at me as though there is something wrong with me. Not having a tan seems to identify me as being un-fit and that has to be blamed on the media (as per the size zero business) and the frequent adverts for sun creams with hoardes of fabulously tanned gorgeously attractive models.

    Perhaps there should be a series of adverts highlighting the dangers of excessive UV exposure featuring people living with skin cancer, perhaps seeing disfiguring scars (or even surgery) would suggest to people that having a tan wasn't the be all and end all of looking good?

  7. Chris Collins

    Life's fatal

    At the end of the day it was free choice that most likely killed her (she could have a gentic predisposition to cancer). However what annoys me is that she could have been run over by a bus and no-one would give a monkey's that she was dead. Ultimately you are going to die of something and that could be tomorrow or in 80 years time. Perhaps they should ban death.

  8. Peter

    Ban life!

    ala Judge Death

  9. Mike Taylor

    Possible difference...

    Because there's more sun in Australia, there's more skin cancer. Awareness is higher, so a per capita comparison of survival rates will look higher - because it's caught earlier.

  10. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Fake bake tans don't look good

    Unless you live somewhere where it is warm 365 days a year, having a tan in the dead of winter doesn't look good. You stand out if you are tan, while everyone isn't. Furthermore, sunning bed tans do not look natural. I've seen ladies with orange skin in December. Orange! It was not pretty, and her skin was starting to turn dry.

    Those who use tanning beds with eventually become crackers. They will have dry, rough skin. There is no upside to tanning beds. Only the sun will do for a good tan.

  11. Joe K


    Theres a recent-ish picture of this woman in the paper, she is obviously on holiday(looks like spain), and is tanned a deep orangey brown.

    Hmmm. She may, and i repeat MAY, have stopped using sunbeds twice a day at 21, but i bet she kept up her tan obession since then and continued to damage the already aged-DNA in her skin.

    Kind of makes you wonder how many other ticking cancer-clocks there are out there.

    These tan-shops only really spread about 10 years ago, will we see a huge increase as these girls with their damaged DNA reach a certain age?

  12. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Awareness in Oz is better

    Awareness of skin cancer is much higher in Oz - the government spends what must be quite a lot cash on adverts, leaflets, talks in schools, etc. Yes, Oz is a warmer, brighter place to be, however in the UK because we see the sun so rarely we tend to forget that it might be dangerous. Compare this to the typical UK holidaymaker's trip to the med where most will use suntan lotion. Of course, the closer you get to the equator, the stronger the sun's rays.

    On the other hand, a genuine tan acts to protect the skin from damage by the sun, so there's the principle that a little exposure is good, too much is bad.

    Over here, we instead get peak time viewing "adverts" about not running red lights on railway crossings... which affects _how_ many people per year? (despite the general principle that they usually don't do it a second time)

  13. John A Blackley


    "Her partner Phil Burtwistle said sun beds had "destroyed the family's life"."

    No they didn't. Her obsessive behaviour did.

    He told the Manchester Evening News: "Zita told me days before she died that she wished she could make a documentary about the dangers of using them. She said if only one person was saved by seeing what had happened to her she'd be happy. People need to know that they can be that dangerous."

    People already do. At least the ones that read do.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    time to make sunbeds illegal for under 18 year olds

    It is time that the Government took firm action on this matter and made it illegal for persons under 18 to use sunbeds without the express written permission of their parents or similar. At best the places are unsafe, at worst seedy and worse and they should not be there alone anyway.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Awareness should be raised

    ..........and then this will lead to more nudity on beaches. ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before someone sues?

    If tanning salons and sun bed makers are aware of the risks and link to skin cancer, would they not be potentially responsible for any cancer deaths that could be directly linked to sun bed use?

    Also, I really think the fashion industry needs a legal kick up the rear end. It's encouraging women (mostly) to do crazy things to their bodies and seems to be unwilling to accept any responsibility for the extreme damage it's doing.

    As a guy, I have to say I find size zero models repulsive. They just give me the feeling that I need to feed them! I feel sorry for them rather than attracted to them.

    As for tanorexics - It doesn't look good! Again, it's just a peer-pressure and fashion industry driven nonsense.

    I think it won't be too long before men are being targeted much more severely by this kind of marketing. I already know quite a few 'metrosexuals' who are taking things to extremes for the sake of their looks and I'm sure it's not really very attractive either.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No such thing as a "safe tan"

    Need to correct Nick Ryan where he says "a genuine tan acts to protect the skin from damage by the sun". It doesnt. Not even a little bit.

    The whole concept that somehow "tanning beds" are "safer" ways of getting a tan is false. They are just as dangerous as baking in the miday sun. I had one Doctor describe it to me "as standing in front of a firing squad where not all the guns are loaded"

  18. Nano nano

    Oz latitude

    Another increased risk factor for Oz compared with the UK is that even in the far south (Melbourne) of the country it is closer to the equator (hence UV is less filtered by atmosphere) than the UK (same as Athens I believe) ... and anywhere north of Melbourne is closer still to the tropics.

  19. Steve Roper

    Australia and skin cancer

    I live in South Australia and I can tell you that you do NOT go out in our summer sun for more than ten minutes at a stretch. You can feel it burning your skin even after a few minutes. Any metal surface exposed to our summer sun soon becomes hot enough to fry eggs on - I know, because I've done it. I also know someone who got a serious burn from picking up a tyre lever he'd left out in the sun all day.

    We have many ad campaigns especially in the leadup to summer (around October-November since our summer is December-January) like our well-known "Slip Slop Slap" (Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat) campaign aimed at schoolchildren. Schools here will not allow children outside during breaks in summer unless they have a hat and sunscreen. Despite this, we still have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and as a result we lead the world in detecting and dealing with skin cancer early. And that's the key - EDUCATION and EARLY DETECTION. We have no miracle cures for advanced or metastatised melanoma.

    When people want to tan themselves here, they generally wear hi-block sunscreen and get under shade after a while, which at least reduces the risk. Chances are Zita did NOT wear sunscreen, did not have the education about the danger of UV rays we do, did not have firsthand experience of what a subtropical sun can do to you, and so she copped it sweet.

    Another problem we have is children and pets dying when left in cars parked in the sun. The interior of a car on a hot day here can easily top 70 Celsius (that's 158 degrees for our American friends), hot enough to kill a child or a dog in less than half an hour. Some years ago, our government made it a serious criminal offence to leave a child or animal unattended in a parked car - it's tantamount to manslaughter if a child is involved, and you'd be looking at a long stretch if convicted.

    Oh, did I mention also that we're one of the highest CO2 producers in the world despite having such a small population? That's because we NEED our airconditioners!

  20. Nano nano

    Need for solar airconditioning

    You'd have thought that with all that sun, they'd have invented a solar-powered air con system ... or at least better building design, for example passive cooling as used by e.g. Pierre Koenig,3604,1190539,00.html

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