Skin cancer in its deadliest form, melanoma, is on the rise and this relates to children of all ages.
1. Babies: Cases of pediatric melanoma have increased
100% in the last 20 years! (Michigan State Medical
Almost every time I’m outdoors, I see babies or small
children in their strollers with their faces and heads
unprotected from the sun. And while I do notice more
small children than ever with hats on their heads, there
seem to be triple that amount without.
All it takes is a little awareness to keep a hat on and to
make sure the back of the stroller is to the sun. When
80% of the sun’s damaging UV rays happens in the first
18 years of life, parents can give the gift of life twice …
once giving birth, and the second protecting their skin.
2. Teens: 2.3 million teenagers (part of 30 million
Americans) use tanning beds. Ultraviolet rays are the
primary factor in developing skin cancer and are 15 times
greater in a tanning booth than outdoors. Up until now,
there have been very few warnings about health risks in
Finally, legislators are trying to change that. 25 states
across the country want to restrict youth access to
indoor tanning facilities. In addition, if passed, this
legislation would require parental consent for anyone
under 18, along with the listing of potential health
consequences in these salons, and licensing by the
This is a potentially life-saving public issue and any
help parents can give both at home with their children
and in their support of their representatives can only
help save lives.
3. Women ages 20-29: They’re adults but they’re still
somebody’s children. Melanoma is now the second most
common cancer in this age group.
While it is best to get kids started early on the
habit of using sun protection, better late than never.
you know how to talk to your children best, but if
you see a tan on your daughter, you might ask how
she came to it…beach? tanning salon? Or, fake
tanning lotion which of course would be Choice No. 1
other than, perhaps, no tan at all.
4. African-American or Asian children: The risk for
melanoma isn’t as high as with Caucasian children,
but it can be more deadly because a lesion or
irregular mole can’t be seen as easily.
Talking with them at all ages about sun protection
and teaching them what to look for is and examining
them regularly is vital.
5. The perfect tan. For years, the perfect tan was looked
at as the way to look healthy, attractive, thinner (believe it
or not), and possibly even rich (if you have time to lounge
in the sun, you really must be well off). And the warmth
of the sun feels good. There’s no doubting that.
The perfect tan is still sought today. Lines form around
some of the more popular tanning salons, grown women
But now we have information we didn’t have.
Irrefutable information. It’s hard to ignore it
and worse, later on, if we’re one of the unlucky
ones, what do we say to ourselves – and our
families? It’s just a little extra effort for potentially
a longer and healthier life. Is the perfect tan worth
losing all that?