Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, due to its likelihood of spreading to other parts of the body. While pediatric melanoma is rare, the rate of diagnoses is rising by approximately 2% each year, especially among those in the 15-19 year old category. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, lists unique genomic features for each of the three subtypes of pediatric melanoma. The study reveals evidence that UV exposure may be more closely linked to the disease than previously thought. Contact Compassion Dermatology today, to schedule a appointment with an dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
There are three main categories of pediatric melanoma, including:
- Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (CNM): A CNM is a large, pigmented mole or birthmark that is present at the time of birth. Approximately 5-10% of CNM will develop into melanoma.
- Conventional Melanoma (CM): In the pediatric patient, CM is rarely diagnosed prior to puberty. Clinically, CM in younger patients shows evidence of UV-induced DNA damage and similar UV-induced mutations.
- Spitzoid Melanoma (SM):Spitzoid Melanomas don’t typically adhere to the common guide to diagnose melanoma. They are often round in shape, uniform in color and nodular by nature. In addition, they typically lack genetic mutations.
Contact Compassion Dermatology today, to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
Risk Factors and Causes
While melanoma is the least common form of cancer overall in the U.S., it’s the most common form of skin cancer in children ages 15 to 19 years. The causes of conventional pediatric melanoma (CM) are similar to those of melanoma in adults. However, no identifiable cause has been linked to spitzoid melanoma (SM) or congenital melanocytic nevi (CNM), although UV ray exposure is suspected.
Risk factors for CM include:
- Children with a fair complexion, light hair and freckles. However, the incidence of melanoma is increasing in children with darker pigmented skin, especially those under the age of 13 years.
- Lengthy periods of sun exposure without proper use of an appropriate sunscreen.
- Large black spots called melanocytic nevi present at birth.
- Certain types of moles may develop into melanoma
- Children who have previously been treated for melanoma are at an increased risk of recurrence.
Recognizing potential melanoma includes observing the size, shape and color. When you suspect melanoma, Contact Compassion Dermatology to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX. The following is a standard guide:
The “A, B, C, D, E” guide is used for adult melanoma.
- Asymmetry includes differences in appearance from one side to the other
- Border will be ragged, blurred, irregular in shape
- Color is uneven and includes shades of black, blue-black, brown or tan
- Diameter indicates changes in the size of the mole
- Evolving refers to the changes in the mole over a few weeks or months
However, this guide may not be suitable for pediatric melanoma, and can include the following:
- A mole that changes and grows
- A large mole or an odd shaped mole
- A “bump” that appears pale or red
- A mole or bump that itches or bleeds
If you recognize any of these signs contact Compassion Dermatology today to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX. When diagnosed at an early stage, typically only the top layer of skin is affected. Out of more than 76,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed each year, approximately 48,000 are diagnosed in the early stage and are highly treatable.
Children who have been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer will need to make lifelong skin inspections. Follow-ups with an oncologist and using skin damage prevention methods is essential. It’s never too soon to protect your child’s skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Contact Compassion Dermatology today, to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
An infant’s skin is especially vulnerable to sun damage due to a lack of melanin. For this reason, keep infants 6 months old and younger out of the sun. You can’t use sunscreen on their delicate skin.
Melanoma is far more common between the ages of 10 and 20 years than it is between birth and 10 years. Ensuring your child is protected from the suns cancer causing UV rays will help prevent skin cancer throughout life. Contact us today, to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
How to Protect Your Child Over 6 Months of Age
Broad-spectrum sunscreen is the next generation in skin protection. It is designed to provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you have questions regarding the appropriate sunscreen for your child, contact your Contact Compassion Dermatology today, to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
- Select a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 to 50, and reapply every 2 to 4 hours. However, if your child is sweating or swimming apply it more frequently.
- Wearing lightweight clothing such as long-sleeved tops and pants is an effective way to prevent sun damage.
- Hats & sunglasses provide protection against the sun.
- The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, so limit your child’s time outdoors during those hours.
The SPF factor indicates how effective a sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. For the majority of people an SPF of 15 is sufficient. However, those who are very fair skinned, have lupus or skin cancer, should consider the use of an SPF of 30 or higher. If you have questions, contact your dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
Taking protective steps with your child’s skin will help to instill the habit as they grow older. It’s never to late to start in goal of preventing melanoma. Contact Compassion Dermatology today, to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX. We offer professional services in a relaxing environment. Our advanced dermatology practice and holistic approach helps to ensure your health and well being.