When should children get their skin checked for skin cancer?
You may wonder at what age children should start to get their skin checked for skin cancer; as with all health issues, early detection is key.
While skin cancer is more commonly diagnosed in adults, it's important to note that it can also affect children. Teaching children about the importance of sun safety early on is a vital step in keeping them safe in the sun.
According to the Cancer Council of Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer at some point in their lives by age 70, and UV radiation from the sun is the primary cause.
Teaching children about the importance of sun safety early on is a vital step in keeping them safe in the sun. Image © @justbeingreese
It is so important for parents to be aware of when their children should start getting their skin checked for skin cancer. When is it more crucial?
- In children with a family history of skin cancer
If there is a history of skin cancer in your family, your child may be at an increased risk of developing the condition. It is recommended that children with a family history of skin cancer start getting regular skin checks from a GP or dermatologist as early as age 10.
- Children with fair skin
Though all skin types are at risk of developing skin cancer (Bob Marley died from a melanoma), children with fair skin, light-colored hair, and freckles are more susceptible to skin damage from UV radiation. Parents of fair-skinned children should consider starting an annual skin check process for their children as early as age 10.
- Children with a history of sunburn
If your child has a history of sunburns, they may be at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Once again, a regular skin check is recommended from age 10, or if ever something unusual is noticed on your child's skin.
- Children with unusual moles
If your child has unusual moles or birthmarks, it's recommended that they get regular skin checks from a GP or dermatologist as early as age 10. Unusual moles can be a sign of melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. Melanomas when left undetected can become life threatening.
It's important to note that even children who don't fall into these categories should still practice sun safety and have their skin checked regularly from the tween years onwards.
Dressing children in quality sun-protective swimwear is an important part of practicing sun-safe habits. Image © @beauandflynn_
Sun protection measures such as using sunscreen, wearing quality protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours can all help reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Children who are raised with an awareness about the importance of sun protection are more likely to carry on these habits throughout life, thereby helping to minimise their risks of developing skin cancer.
Early detection is key when it comes to skin cancer, so it's important to start teaching children about the importance of sun safety and getting regular skin checks early on - by doing so, parents can help ensure their children stay healthy and protected from the sun's harmful UV rays.
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While skin cancer is more commonly diagnosed in adults, it's important to note that it can also affect children. Teaching children about the importance of sun safety early on is a vital step in keeping them safe in the sun. Read on to find out age recommendations and precautions.
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