Skin cancer prevention needs to begin in early childhood

Individuals receive 50% of their total lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18, according to a review article published in Pediatric Dermatology. Therefore, researchers are urging pediatricians to educate children and their families about skin cancer.

Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are a growing problem and the most rapidly growing cause of cancer deaths in the United States where tanning, indoor and outdoor, has become more and more popular. Further to this, researchers at the Center for Dermatology Research at Wake Forest University say that there is strong evidence for the relationship between indoor tanning and melanoma, as well as a relationship between UV exposure and non-melanoma skin cancers.

Reducing sun exposure by altering childhood behavior patterns will hopefully stem the rise of skin cancer, say researchers. Suggestions include the use of sunscreen and wearing of appropriate clothing such as hats for outdoor play, both at home and in school. And while these recommendations may seem familiar, they are now encouraging proactive measures from pediatricians.

"We recommend that pediatricians counsel children and their parents about UV protection," states Dr. Mandeep Kaur, an Instructor at the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest. Research shows that pediatricians provide skin cancer counseling at less than one percent of visits. However, with statistics showing that primary school children receive more sun exposure than adolescents, it is imperative to start preventive measures early on in childhood.


This article is published in the journal, Pediatric Dermatology. Media who would like to receive a PDF of this paper please contact [email protected].

Corresponding author Mandeep Kaur, MD can be reached for questions and interviews through the Wake Forest University press office at (336) 716-4587 or [email protected] (Karen Richardson, Sr. Media Relations Manager).

About the Journal
Pediatric Dermatology answers the need for new ideas and strategies for today's pediatrician or dermatologist. As a teaching vehicle, the Journal is still unsurpassed and it will continue to present the latest on topics such as hemangiomas, atopic dermatitis, rare and unusual presentations of childhood diseases, neonatal medicine, and therapeutic advances. As important progress is made in any area involving infants and children, Pediatric Dermatology is there to publish the findings.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 665 academic, medical, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
    Published on All rights reserved.