The dreary days of winter are quickly giving way to longer hours of daylight. Kids will soon be swimming, biking, playing sports and enjoying all the other advantages that more sunshine and warmer weather offers. Theyll also be absorbing more UVA and UVB rays.
While skin cancer in children is rare, and melanoma " the deadliest form of skin cancer- is even more unusual, more cases are being reported according to a new study. The rates increased by about 2% per year from 1973 to 2009 in U.S. children ages newborn to 19. Melanoma accounts for up to 3 percent of all pediatric cancers, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
As you might expect, the largest increase was seen in teenage girls from 15 to19 years old. Girls tend to lay out in the sun or visit tanning booths more often than boys. Girls are more likely to have melanomas on their lower legs and hips while boys melanomas are typically found on the face and trunk.
Recent studies have also shown that melanoma is on the rise among adults as well. Exactly what is driving these trends is not fully understood, but increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation from both the sun and tanning booths as well as greater awareness of melanoma may be responsible, according to study authors led by Jeannette Wong of the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
Skin cancer looks pretty much the same in children as it does in adults. Parents should routinely check any moles or changes in their childs skin.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. It is highly treatable, grows very slowly and is located on the top layer of skin. It usually appears as a small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin, mainly those areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, arms, hands, and face. It more commonly occurs among people with light-colored eyes, hair, and complexion.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a more aggressive skin cancer but