22/03/2011 06:40 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Well-Off Women Have High Risk Of Skin Cancer

Katy-Perry-sunbathing Katy Perry: do her songs fuel women's obsession with tanning? Photo: WireImage, Kevin Mazur

It just goes to show that money isn't everything - at least if you're a young, white woman. Why? Because the better off you are, the higher your risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. That's the discovery of US-based cancer experts whose study suggests wealthier women spend more time in the sun and on sunbeds than those who are hard-up.

The experts carried out their study of skin cancer cases in California to find out why US melanoma figures have been rising steadily in young, white women in recent decades.

Writing in the journal Archives of Dermatology the researchers discovered the rate of melanoma is four or five times higher in women living in the wealthiest areas compared with those living in the poorest neighbourhoods. An obsession with being tanned all year round could be the reason why, they say.

And celebs such as Katy Perry who sing about how cool it is to be tanned ("sun-kissed skin, so hot", a lyric from California Gurls) aren't helping, the experts believe.

In this country, more than 2,200 people die from melanoma every year, and the number of cases being diagnosed is increasing. According to Cancer Research UK, this latest research backs up figures that suggest skin cancer rates are higher among more affluent people in this country too.

The best way to protect yourself is to not get sunburned, say experts. And that means using a minimum of SPF15 sunscreen when you're in the sun, as well as covering up and staying in the shade whenever possible at home or abroad.

Are you planning to sunbathe this summer?

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