Skin Cancer in Children: Recognizing Melanoma

Skin Cancer in Children: Recognizing Melanoma

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He skin cancer it is rare in children, however no one is safe from skin cancer because our dermis has memory. This means that all skin lesions, in the form of sunburns, accumulate on the skin, reducing the solar capital with which we are born. The latest studies on the incidence of melanoma or skin cancer indicate that having suffered more than three sunburns in the same area increases the risk of developing skin cancer. How to detect it? How to prevent it? We give you all the information!

The dreaded melanoma o Skin cancer is more common in fair-skinned people, especially those with blonde or red hair and light (green or blue) eyes. The risk factors that may predispose to skin cancer are.

- A history of melanoma in the family.

- Time of exposure to the sun. Time spent in the sun without protection directly affects the risk of skin cancer.

- Sunburn in early childhood. Studies have shown that sunburns that occur early in a person's life increase the risk of skin cancer years later.

- Have many freckles or many common moles (more than 50).

- Possessing dysplastic moles (atypical moles), which are unusual benign moles that can look like melanoma. People who have them are at higher risk for single or multiple melanomas.

In fact, pigmented lesions most common in young children are moles. During childhood the moles appear progressively, more frequently at the level of the trunk. It is believed that there is a very important influence of the sun on the development of moles or nevi in both children and adults. But, what should we look at in a mole or skin spot to see if it presents abnormal characteristics, that make you suspect that it may be melanoma or skin cancer?

In children, in general, all moles will be benign, but to make sure we have the rule of A, B, C, D and E. Based on the following signs parents can know if the child's mole or moles need medical attention. Remember that early detection is essential to treat skin cancer early and prevent it from causing death.

In order to rule out a possible skin cancer when observing a pigmented lesion or a mole on the skin, it is necessary to observe carefully a series of characteristics that will determine normality or abnormality regarding melanoma and that we can study by remembering the first letters of the alphabet.

A, for asymmetry. Moles are pigmented spots on the skin that are generally rounded in shape. Observing any sign of asymmetry can raise suspicion.

B, irregular edges. The nevus or benign mole has rounded edges, while those that can be carcinogenic have angular edges, which extend more in one area than another.

C, colored. The heterogeneity of color can be a warning symbol. A uniform color indicates normality.

D, diameter. A diameter greater than 0.5 cm may be suspicious. This mole needs to be looked at more closely because there may be skin cancer under it.

E, elevation. The elevation of the nevus or moles is usually a sign of normality, except when there is a small relief that is palpable and not only seen.

Any of these signs should make us consult a dermatologist. They are not by themselves irrefutable signs of malignancy, but they are an alarm sign that should put us on alert.

Findings of suspicious moles or skin cancer in the early stages are the key to successful treatment of skin cancer. A skin self-exam is usually the first step in detecting skin cancer. The American Cancer Society suggests the following self-examination methods:

  1. Examine the front and back of your body, then the right and left side with the arms raised.
  2. Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, the back and upper part of the arms and the palms of the hands.
  3. Look at the back of your legs and feet, the spaces between the toes and the soles of the feet.
  4. Examine the back of the neck with a hand mirror and the scalp.
  5. Examine your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
  6. Get familiar with their skin and with the pattern of polka dots, freckles and other marks.
  7. Stay alert for changes in the number, size, shape and color of the pigmented areas.
  8. Please follow the ABCD chart when examining moles from other pigmented areas and quickly consult your doctor if you notice any changes.

In any alarm situation in a mole, it is best to go to the doctor. This will perform a test (biopsy), which consists of removing part or all of the lesion or mole for examination. The result will determine whether or not its cells are cancerous. In turn, this test will give information about the status of the cancer and its spread.

The treatment of melanoma, which will depend on the size and depth of the lesion, the place where the cancer is located and its spread throughout the rest of the body, can be from an operation, through a chemotherapy process, a drug-directed therapy or a biological therapy (immunotherapy).

If found early (found on the surface of the skin), melanoma has a good prognosis, that is, it can be cured. The problem is if it has grown and has reached the blood vessels and could affect the lymphatic system.

Sources consulted:
American Cancer Society
Skin Cancer Foundation

You can read more articles similar to Skin Cancer in Children: Recognizing Melanoma, in the Cancer category on site.

Video: Introduction to Skin Cancer #4: The ABCDEs of Melanoma (February 2023).