People often wonder if children can get skin cancer, and the answer is YES. In fact, although melanoma is the least common skin cancer overall, it is the most common type of skin cancer to affect children and teens. Unfortunately, melanoma is also the most severe type of cancer. Melanoma has increased by about 2 percent annually from 1973, primarily in teens. Protecting your children’s skin is vitally important.
Melanoma starts as melanocytes. These are cells that produce melanin, which is the substance that gives the skin its color. Melanoma is often found as an isolated mole on the skin in its earliest stages, but it can spread to other parts of the body, including the organs.
Parents have the responsibility of taking care of their children, and it is often a bigger job than they realize. Feeding, clothing, and educating your children are obvious responsibilities, but children also need to be protected from things beyond your control. The sun’s UV rays are extremely dangerous to the human skin. Skin damage is almost entirely preventable, yet it is not reversible once it occurs.
Sun protection is essential, and it is the responsibility of the parent. As heavy as this burden may be, every time you allow your child to get sunburned, you are increasing their risk for melanoma. By applying proper sunscreen, you can easily protect your child’s skin from damage.
Beyond sunscreen, there are other tactics you can use to protect your child’s skin from sun exposure. Staying inside when the sun’s rays are the strongest, usually between 10 am – 3 pm, can limit your child’s exposure. You can also give your child hats and swim shirts to protect their skin when they are swimming or playing outside. Also, look for shade! Staying out of the direct sunlight will allow you to spend time outdoors while not increasing the chance of damage to your child’s skin.
By establishing healthy habits for sun protection at an early age, you are giving your child an invaluable gift. Your children can grow up conscious of the sun’s harmful effects, and their skin can be protected from the start. To learn more about protecting your child’s skin from cancer, contact Medical Dermatology Specialists. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you in healthy skin for life.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM