Estimation of avoidable skin cancers and cost-savings to government associated with regulation of the solarium industry in Australia
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Objective: In Australia there is growing concern about the expanding solarium industry, and the additive effect of persons seeking exposure to artificial ultraviolet radiation (UVR) against already intense background levels of solar UVR.We estimated the numbers of potential skin cancers prevented through regulation of solaria and the associated cost-savings to the Federal Government. Methods: A lifetime decision-analytic model was created using relative risk estimates based on a meta-analysis of the literature assessing the link between skin cancer risk and solarium use. The costs were limited to those incurred by Medicare Australia, for the medical care of individuals treated for skin cancer. Results: With stricter regulations, we estimated between 18 and 31 melanomas, 200-251 squamous cell carcinomas and associated costs of $AU 256,054 would be avoided per 100,000 persons. Our base findings were sensitive to estimates for prevalence of use, skin cancer risk and discounting rates. Conclusions: Continued growth in the Australian solarium industry is likely to inflate the already substantial skin cancer burden. Subject to some limitations, our study indicates that by successfully enforcing solarium regulations to prohibit use by minors and by those with fair skin colour, the Federal Government could expect favourable cost and health benefits.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified