Children & Skin Cancer
What we do in our formative years as children significantly affects our risk of developing skin cancer and how we approach sun safety as adults. At Norton Skin Cancer Clinics we understand the concern parents have for their children’s health and can help answer any questions you might have about your child’s skin and how they might be protected from the dangers of the Australian sun.
The good news is that the chances of a child developing skin cancer are very low. It is also normal to see new moles and spots arise as they grow before and during puberty, so full-body checks are not usually recommended until they are twenty years of age. With this is mind it is still important to check any concerning lesion that is changing or growing rapidly and also to follow standard sun safe procedures.
Why childhood is a critical time for sun safety?
Babies and children have thin, sensitive skin which makes them more likely to suffer from sunburns than adults. This is an important fact because frequent sunburns as children significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Intense exposure to the sun in the first decade of our lives can more than double our chances of developing melanoma as adults. Therefore, limiting sun exposure and practicing sun safe activities from a young age is key to reducing the risk of skin cancer as children grow up.
How to protect your children from the sun
Instilling children with the importance of sun safety from a young age is vital to developing the habits that will protect them for the rest of their lives. This includes teaching them the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide technique, which stands for; slip on long sleeve clothing, slop on some SPF 30+ sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on a pair of sunglasses.
When should you get a skin check?
While skin cancer in children is rare there are a few times that a skin check might be recommended:
- There is a history of skin cancer in your family.
If your family has suffered from skin cancer in the past then taking extra care to ensure your child’s safety is recommended.
- Your child has a large amount of moles.
A child with fair skin and over one hundred moles on their body means that their risk of skin cancer is above average.
If your child falls into both of these categories then skin cancer is a greater risk, particularly after the age of 15. It is recommended that you keep an eye on your child’s skin and check any lesions that look suspicious. If you are unsure about anything or would like to discuss whether regular skin checks are necessary then don’t hesitate to call Norton Skin Cancer Clinics for a consultation.