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Johns Hopkins Health - The Kid and Skin Cancer Connection

Fall 2009
Issue No. 6

The Kid and Skin Cancer Connection

Date: September 24, 2009

girl with sunscreen

There’s a misconception that melanoma—a type of malignant skin cancer—occurs only in adults, says Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatric dermatologist Bernard Cohen, M.D.

“Fact is that pediatric melanoma isn’t as rare as it used to be, and we’re seeing a lot more of it,” Cohen says, adding that it’s becoming particularly more common in adolescents.

The message for parents is to be aware, he says. Watch for moles that are odd-looking, change size or shape, seem wartlike or are larger than a pencil eraser.

More important is the fact that three severe sunburns before you’re age 18 significantly increase your lifetime risk of melanoma.

“So avoid overexposure and apply sunscreen,” he says.


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