It was the perfect storm. When Claire was diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma at the age of 14, it absolutely blindsided us. She wore sunscreen, never tanned and got annual skin screenings. What was missed was the risk associated with hypothyroidism; a condition that can occur as a result of puberty. Claire became fully symptomatic at the age of 14; a diagnosis coinciding with drastic and quick changes in a mole that had always been prettily sitting on her ankle. A research oncologist determined the two factors meshed to create her melanoma. Yup. The perfect storm. With that, we first learned factors other than UV sun exposure can cause melanoma in young people and fueled what is now our mission at the Claire Marie Foundation. Let’s break it down further. People with hypothyroidism have unhealthy high levels of thyroid stimulation hormone or TSH. Some individuals can have moles or skin lesions…
There is still more evidence proving the shadow of a melanoma diagnosis never really leaves a young person. The “Beast” can and does often rear its ugly head at least once more in a survivors lifetime. Dermatologists at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, have just released a new study which finds patients who have survived cutaneous melanoma, especially those diagnosed in childhood, adolescent and young adulthood, are five times more likely to develop a secondary primary cancer. It is of special concern within the first year of diagnosis. The greatest risk is for infants; those diagnosed with melanoma before they enjoy their first birthday cake. The risk declines with maturity through adolescents and teens with the lowest risk among those diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 29. However it’s important to note these survivors in young adulthood are the most susceptible to developing internal…
You’ve heard us share the statistics again and again; melanoma is one of the most common cancers in adolescents and young adults – or AYA’s as they are called. Now new research reinforces why early detection is more critical than ever. For any human, the key to beating melanoma is detection at the very earliest stage before it has spread. But researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California determined it is especially crucial when it comes to AYA patients. When found early, adolescents and young adults have a much better chance of surviving melanoma than older adults. But when melanoma has advanced to stage IV, when it is metastatic and has spread through the body, young people have only a 20% chance of surviving melanoma; a much worse rate…
Be careful of what you pull from that icy cooler to quench your summer thirst! New research indicates that drinking alcohol can actually make your skin burn in the sun more quickly and more severely! And it's not just because imbibing may distract you from reapplying sunscreen as often as needed! The alcohol changes your skin on the cellular level, lowering levels of carotenoids and deregulating your immune system.
Melanoma? It’s a girl thing. Old guys get it. It only affects fair-skinned people. Right? Wrong. Dead wrong. You’ve heard us say it before; If you have skin - you are at risk for melanoma - especially adolescents and young adults who have unique hormonal and lifestyle factors which come into play. The hard truth is this; if not found early - melanoma can kill you. This Melanoma May, we turn the spotlight on the guys!
Sun exposure among young athletes is such a big deal that the super geniuses over at Stanford University created THE most comprehensive sun protection outreach and research program of any university in the nation: SUNSPORT. Know the risks and find smart, skin- and life-saving tips below.
If you know someone who’s serving in the military, be sure to let them or their family know they should be taking extra steps to protect their skin from melanoma. Pilots are particularly susceptible to skin cancer, as are those who serve in desert climates.
Did you know? That the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that physician examination in these families should start at the age of 10 and continue on a twice-a-year basis thereafter. Particular care should be taken at puberty and during adolescence when hormonal changes activate the moles.
When it comes to adolescent and young adult melanoma, leading experts say genetics and hormonal changes during puberty are often a factor. We are highlighting this study, because like Claire, all the patients who died from melanoma were older than 10 years at time of diagnosis. It seems that postpuberal age might have been a factor determining death risk.
Hypo what? In a nutshell, hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. It can develop during puberty and has been linked to melanoma. Such was the case with Claire. This study, from MD Anderson, found that hypothyroidism can feed the development of melanoma cells.
More and more mommas-to-be are getting melanoma. According to new Cleveland Clinic research, women younger than 50 who are pregnant or have recently been pregnant are most at risk. So, what’s the deal? Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found hormonal changes in pregnancy can be the culprit.
It’s a common misconception that people with darker skin are immune to skin cancer. The truth is, while skin cancer and melanoma is more common among lighter-skinned people, it tends to be deadlier among people of color.
Screening for skin cancer is essential in saving lives. The risk of dying of the disease is directly related to the thickness or depth of the melanoma. The longer a malignancy goes unnoticed, the thicker the melanoma grows and greater the risk of dying.
A 2013 study published in the journal Pediatrics reports the number of diagnosis of melanoma in young people is on the rise by 2% each year in the U.S. It is estimated by The National Cancer Institute that some 500 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma each year. Melanoma is also the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults between 15 and 29 years old. A recent study from Johns Hopkins found young people with melanoma have a higher risk of invasive disease than adults.
The signs of melanoma in young people are often overlooked as the disease presents very differently from those melanomas seen in adults. Melanomas in children and adolescents tend to be nodular lesions that grow thick, rather than broad in scope. The standard hallmarks of adult melanoma diagnosis, known in medicine as the ABCD’s of detection often do not apply. Thus, the melanomas are often overlooked or misdiagnosed as something as simple as warts, spitz nevi or other non threatening skin conditions.
Only a qualified professional who understands pediatric melanoma can make a diagnosis, but immediately have your child evaluated if you observe any of the following signs: (courtesy Melanoma Research Foundation)