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)