What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer Today
Revered by many as a sign of health, a tan complexion can actually be deadly. For hundreds of years – in fact, up until the mid 20th century, fair skin was preferred. This change in preference is one of the leading causes for skin cancer rates drastically growing each year. Yet, sun-seekers aren’t the only people who risk skin cancer. Skin cancer is a reality for all skin colors.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. According to Skin Cancer Foundation, over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated annually, and more people have skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Despite knowing the risks, the number of skin cancers diagnosed each year continues to rise. Your child’s skin is a perfect canvas. Taking care of the skin they are in and teaching them how to care for their skin properly minimizes their risk of developing skin cancer down the road.
Pediatric Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can happen to kids of all ethnicities. New parents are advised to keep infants under six months of age out of the sun. However, new research shows that they are getting exposed to the sun. One-third of parents mistakenly believe that by exposing them to the sun, they will build up a base tan. This is a dangerous choice as any tan is damage to the skin. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.
Tanning Beds are Cancer Beds
Radiation exposure from the use of tanning beds is a major cause of skin cancer in kids. Do not permit children (including teens) to use tanning beds – and don’t use them yourself! People who use a tanning bed before 35 years of age increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. In North Carolina, tanning beds are illegal for people younger than 18 years old. Click here for details on this law.
What You Can Do to Be Sun Smart
Be sun smart and follow these tips when outside in the sun:
- Long sleeve sun shirts should be worn when at the pool or beach.
- When outside doing other activities, choose lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs.
- Apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen daily that has a minimum SPF of 15 starting at six months of age. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the best sunscreen ingredients, as they are least likely to cause a skin reaction.
- Get children used to wearing sunglasses and a hat when outside.
- Do not permit the use of tanning beds.
Skin cancer most often appears because of sun exposure as a child. All it takes is five sunburns to double your child’s risk of skin cancer. It is one of the only cancers that can be prevented, but the power is in your hands. You want the very best for your child. Help them have beautiful, healthy skin and teach them skin cancer prevention habits that will last a lifetime.
If you have questions about pediatric skin cancer or have concerns about suspicious moles or spots on your child, schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers by calling (910) 486-5437 today.