Symptoms, Causes and Prevention for Melanoma | Dermatology

Skin cancer in children

What is skin cancer in children (melanoma)?

Skin cancer in children (melanoma) is the most serious type of skin cancer, but you can usually get it from contact with adults, but it also occurs in children. It begins with the melanocytes. These are the cells that produce melanin, which gives the skin its colour. Melanoma can often be thought of as an isolated mole on the skin in the early stages. But from there, cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including organs.

Pediatric melanoma accounts for only 1 per cent of all new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the united states each year. However, malignant melanoma is a cancer of the skin in children and adolescents, although it is still very rare. It increased by 2% per year between the years 1970 and 2009, mainly among adolescents.

Types of skin cancer in children

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell carcinoma: Basal cell carcinoma is more common in diagnosed skin cancers. It is a very treatable cancer that grows very slowly. Basal cell carcinoma usually appears as a small lump or shiny nodule on the skin, mainly in areas exposed to the sun such as the head, neck, arms, hands, and face. It is more common in people with fair eyes, hair, and complexion.
  • Malignant melanoma: Malignant melanoma accounts for the smallest percentage of all skin cancers, but represents the highest mortality from skin cancer. Malignant melanoma begins in the cells of the melanocytes that produce pigment in the skin. Malignant melanoma sometimes begins as a cancerous mole. The cancer spreads quickly to other parts of the body. Malignant melanoma occurs most often in fair-skinned men and women, but it can affect people with all skin types.
  • Squamous carcinoma: Although squamous cell carcinoma is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, it is still very treatable. It is present in a very small percentage of all skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma nodules, or red, appear as scaly patches of the skin and can be found on the face, ears, lips, and mouth. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body, but it is very rare. This type of
  • Skin cancer is more common in people with fair skin.

Causes of skin cancer in children

Exposure to the sun is a major factor in skin cancer. Skin cancer is more common in people with pale skin, pale eyes, and copper or red hair. Other risk factors:

  • History of sunstroke
  • There are very small scars
  • Have a lot of moles
  • Containing heterogeneous moles (marine dysplastic). These large, oddly shaped moles run through families.
  • Previously radiotherapy
  • Your risk increases as you get older.
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Previously had skin cancer
  • Time spent in the sun
  • Using tanning beds or lamps
  • Taking medications that suppress the immune system.
  • Some rare inherited conditions, such as basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin syndrome) or xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)
  • HPV infection
  • Actinic keratosis or Bowen’s disease. These are red or brown patches that are rough or dry on the skin.

Symptoms of skin cancer in children

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include sun exposure to the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. Features include:

  • Small swollen bump, it may be shiny or pearly and may have small blood vessels
  • Small, flattened, scaly, irregular in shape, and pale pink or red.
  • The area that bleeds easily, then heals and seems to be gone, then bleeds again in a few weeks
  • With increased margins, lower area in the middle, and growth with brown, blue, or black areas

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma are found in areas exposed to the sun such as the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. They are also found in other parts of the body, such as the skin of the genital area. Features include:

  • A rough or scaly bump that grows quickly
  • Acne-like growths can cause bleeding or scabbing.
  • Flat, red patches on the skin are irregularly shaped and may bleed

Symptoms of melanoma A mole with a change in a mole or a new mole with ABCDE symptoms:

  • Inequality: Half of the mole does not match the other half.
  • Manipulation of borders: The edges of the mole are torn or jagged.
  • Colour: The mole has different colours. It can be beige, brown, black, red, or other colours. Or there may be areas that appear to have lost colour.
  • Article: The mole is about 6 millimetres larger than the size of the pencil eraser. But some melanomas are small.
  • Development: A mole varies in size, shape, or colour.

Other symptoms of skin cancer in children include a mole:

  • Itching or pain
  • Ojas bleeds or gets crispy
  • Turns red or swells
  • Your baby will be different from other moles

Risk factors

Skin cancer is more common in people with fair skin, especially those with blond or red hair, and those with pale eyes. Skin cancer is very rare in children. However, no one is safe from skin cancer. Other risk factors:

  • Family history of melanoma
  • Spending an unsafe time in the sun directly affects your child’s risk of skin cancer.
  • Childhood sunstroke. Research has shown that sunburns early in life increase the risk of skin cancer in children. Exposure to the sun early in life is a major factor in the development of skin cancer.
  • Very small scars
  • Diversified polka dots/navy blue
  • Pre-radiation therapy
  • Decreased immunity as in those who have had an organ transplant.
  • Some rare inherited conditions, such as basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin syndrome) or xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) 

How is skin cancer in children treated?

Skin cancer in children and adults is classified as stages 0 to 4. The more advanced the cancer is the higher its stage. Treatment options depend on the stage and location of cancer.

  • Stage 0 or 1 melanoma can usually be treated successfully with an extensive excision, which removes the mole and healthy skin around its edges.
  • In stage 0, melanoma can be treated with imiquimod cream (Zyclara), a prescription ointment that helps make cancer and non-cancerous skin growth go away.
  • Stage 2 melanoma requires extensive excision and may also include a lymph node biopsy. A stage 2 melanoma may have invaded the lymphatic system, so a biopsy may be appropriate. Talk to your paediatrician about whether a biopsy makes sense at this stage.
  • Stage 3 melanoma requires surgery to remove the tumor and surgery on the cancerous lymph nodes. Radiation therapy may also be required.
  • Stage 4 melanoma is very difficult to treat. This stage means that cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy may participate.

How is skin cancer in children diagnosed?

The consulting dermatologist performs a comprehensive assessment, with access to all the scientific equipment used by adults and the sensitivity that children deserve. Family and personal medical history will be considered. It can range from familial melanoma events to prior radiation therapy, genetic conditions lowered immunity or sunburn in childhood. Less obvious features can also be assessed. The lesion can be a dark spot under the nail, not due to cancer, where a large number of moles or moles are clearly visible.

The doctor will examine your baby’s skin. Tell the healthcare provider:

  • When you first notice a skin problem
  • If it’s liquid or bleeding or scabbing
  • If it changes in size, colour or shape
  • If your child has pain or itching
  • Tell your healthcare provider if your child has had skin cancer in the past and if other members of your family have skin cancer.

Your child’s doctor will take a tissue (biopsy) from a mole or other skin marker that looks like cancer. The tissue is sent to the laboratory. A doctor called a pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope. Other tests may be done to find out if you have cancer cells in the sample. Biopsy results are ready in a few days to a week. Your child healthcare provider will report the results to you. He or she will talk to you about other tests that may be needed if cancer is found.


Most childhood melanomas cannot be prevented because they are caused by a mutation (genetic modification). The most important way to prevent melanoma from developing later in life is to limit sun exposure in children and adolescents. Keep babies under 6 months completely out of the sun, as their skin is very sensitive. If any skin needs sun exposure, apply sunscreen to small areas like the face and hands. Children 6 months and older should wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 a day.

Other ways to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Avoid the strong sun during the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Encourage children to wear wide-brimmed hats and long, loose-fitting cotton clothing, especially if they are prone to burns.
  • Make sure teens understand the dangers of tanning salons

Be a good role model yourself

Not all skin cancers are melanomas, but every case of melanoma is serious. Do what you can to reduce your child’s risk and help them make better choices about sun protection.

What is the outlook for skin cancer in children?

Skin cancer is increasing in children. There is a growing awareness of the dangers of high UV exposure and the importance of skin cancer screening. Teach your child how to spot suspicious moles, sores, and growth, and schedule annual visits with your paediatrician.

If your child is at high risk for melanoma or if you or your paediatrician notice any suspicious lesions, see your child’s dermatologist. It can help you detect pediatric melanoma or any other skin cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage in children.

Treatment of early-stage melanoma is often successful. If melanoma is diagnosed when it is still small, the surgery will be minimal or scar-free.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *