Melanoma Skin Cancer on the Rise in Children

With spring upon us, and children spending more time in the outdoors, it’s time for parents to remind themselves of the importance of protecting their children from UV radiation more than ever.

A study out of Brown School at Washington University has looked at the increase of melanoma in adolescents and children. Melanoma is a serious and often deadly form of skin cancer that is, fortunately, rare in children between 0 and 19 years of age. However, researchers found that since 1973 there has been significant increase of melanoma cases among children, at an average increase of 2% of cases a year between 1973-2009.

Most of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays occur during childhood, when time spent outdoors is 3 times of that during the adult years. Risk factors for melanoma are fair skin, light colored hair and eyes, family history, and an increase of exposure to ultra violet radiation. Much of this damage can be avoided by wearing sunscreen, donning hats and staying out of the sun during peak hours.

Source: News Medical, April 9, 2013

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