Melanoma (Skin)Cancer Rates Increasing 2% yearly in children

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Web MD News published an article 4/3/2013, stating that “Melanoma (most deadly form of skin cancer), doesn’t usually occur in kids, but a new long-term study shows that it’s happening more often.” The current findings, according to Web MD news, were Published in the May issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

The study, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, presented, “While melanoma in children is extremely rare, the rate increased by about 2.1% per year from 1973 to 2009 among US children from newborn to age 19. SkinCancer.org website posted facts on their website that are worth taking a look at:

  1. “Melanoma is nine times more common between the ages of 10 and 20 than it is between birth and 10 years.
  2. Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in patients aged 10-19.
  3. 6.5 percent of pediatric melanomas occur in non-Caucasians, which is a higher percentage than that seen in adults.
  4. Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.
  5. Between 1973 and 2001, melanoma incidence in those under age 20 rose 2.9 percent.
  6. Diagnosis and treatment is delayed in up to 40 percent of childhood melanoma cases.”

Web MD stated: “The study included 1,317 children, who were diagnosed with melanoma during the study time frame. Of this number, 1,230 children were white. Because the number of cases among racial/ethnic groups was so small, researchers focused the analysis on white children. The age group that increased the most were girls between 15 and 19 yrs of age. Investigators noted that boys were more likely to develop melanomas on their face and trunks, while girls were more likely to have melanoma on their lower legs and hips.”

“According to study authors led by Jeannette Wong of the US National Cancer Institute, the exact cause driving the 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.”

Legislatures in various states are in the process of regulating use of tanning beds by our youth, as demonstrated by map at top of blog. As parents, we can help teach our children to be responsible in prevention of such a serious and deadly disease, by applying a sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, in addition to reapplying on a frequent basis when outside. There are also manufacturers of sun smart clothing which is available¬† in retail stores. Please also take time to check your children’s skin for any unusual moles/lesions and if not sure, do have them checked as early detection of melanomas is linked to good cure rates.

LINK to Skincancer.org site

LINK to National Cancer Institute

 

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