"" The Exhausted Mom: Sun Exposure ~ What It Could Mean For Your Kids

September 13, 2012

Sun Exposure ~ What It Could Mean For Your Kids

The big C: cancer. The scariest word to utter...let alone using it in connection with your child.  But the fact of the matter is that cancer doesn't discriminate for age, gender, race, or financial background.  We are all targets and can all be victims.  Even our young ones.  It breaks my heart to even think about it.  

Since I live in South Florida and it is sunny a good 90% of the year, we are more susceptible to skin cancer.  I know that I should put sunscreen on my kids before they walk out of the house each day, but I am guilty of not doing so.  

Dr. Duarte, the Director of Dermatology at The Miami Children's Hospital, provides tips for how we can protect our children (not to mention ourselves) from developing melanoma.


What Parents Should Know About Skin Cancer

With warm weather and constant sunshine throughout most of the year, families in South Florida are no strangers to the dangers of too much sun exposure. Still, melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer is on the rise, particularly among teens and young adults.

“There are various types of skin cancers, most of which don’t become life threatening because they don’t spread from the skin,” said Dr. Ana Duarte, Director of the Division of Dermatology at Miami Children’s Hospital.  “Unfortunately, melanoma is different. It is the most dangerous of skin cancers, and if not caught early, it can spread from the skin to other organs, often ending with deadly results.”

Melanoma was once thought to be a result of many, many years of excessive sun exposure. But over the last decade or so, there has been increasing number of cases of melanoma in teenagers, especially in females. Studies show teen girls are more likely to spend time tanning in the sun or under artificial lamps, which becomes extremely dangerous when they don’t apply sun block.

“Rising cases of melanoma are definitely a concern. So often, teens don’t properly protect themselves against the sun because they believe cancer only affects older adults, but this early exposure to sun damage can be ultimately be life threatening, even at a young age.” explains Dr. Duarte. “That’s why it’s so important for parents to remind their children of the importance of wearing sunscreen, especially if they are very fair skinned, have any large moles or a family history of cancer.”

When to See a Doctor
Though melanoma can be life threatening, the good news is it is a curable cancer if caught early. Teach your teens to be conscious about abnormalities on their skin, and call your doctor if you or your child notice:
  •   A bump or mole on the skin that wasn’t there before
  •   A mole that has changed in size, shape, elevation or color
  •   A bump or mole that hurts or itches

Dr. Duarte recommends that children with light-colored eyes and fair skin, particularly those with a family history of skin cancer or significant early exposure to the sun, be seen annually by a dermatologist so that moles can be monitored over time.

I really need to be better at checking my kids regularly, especially "Little Ricky" who has light eyes and freckles.  And I really should put sunscreen on my kids daily and keep a tube in my purse.

How do you protect your kids from the sun? 


1 comment:

  1. so scary! especially down here in south florida. we tend to forget that our kids skin is more susceptible to these dangerous problems.


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