Pediatric Melanoma Cases on the Rise

Melanoma is a dangerous skin condition that is beginning to affect many young children. The American Cancer Society has estimated that there will be approximately 76,690 newly diagnosed cases of melanoma in 2013 and that approximately 9,480 of those cases are predicted to be fatal.

According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics found that on average, cases of pediatric melanoma rose by 2 percent per year between the years 1973-2009. In addition, a study conducted by the National Cancer Foundation found that melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in people aged 15-29. Sadly, it can be very difficult for an oncologist to diagnose a child with melanoma due to symptoms being different than those in adults. Biopsy testing can often come back with inconclusive results and can only be confirmed after the cancer has grown. One of the most important factors in overcoming cancer is early diagnosis.

In a 2011 study, researchers found that 60 percent of children aged 0-10 who were diagnosed with melanoma did not exhibit the classic symptoms that adults would. The warning signs for melanoma are broken down into categories ABCDE, which stand for asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter over 6 millimeters, and evolution of a lesion.