Preventing Pediatric Melanoma - My Family Travels

Protect your entire family from this potentially serious illness, be aware of the warning signs, and be extra vigilant.

Melanoma affects seven out of every million children in the U.S., according to statistics from the National Cancer Institute. While still uncommon, some hospitals report that the number of cases is growing. As a result, more parents may want to practice preventive measures.

The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is committed to educating parents about how to safeguard their children against the dangers of melanoma. One important step parents can take is to teach their children the shadow rule: When you are outside, if your shadow is shorter than you are, it means UV rays are intense and you need to be extra careful. However long their shadow is, children should always apply sunscreen with SPF 15 before spending time in the sun.

Parents should also learn the warning signs of melanoma:

   • Asymmetrical moles.
   • A mole or lesion that has irregular edges.
   • The color of a cancerous spot is generally black or brown.
   • The diameter is generally bigger than a pencil eraser.

While it’s important to recognize these warning signs, parents should also know that about half of all children with melanoma do not follow this pattern. A significant number of pediatric melanomas have well-defined edges and are light in color. This discrepancy can contribute to a serious delay in a child being diagnosed. That’s why it’s so important for parents to report any suspicious growths to their child’s pediatrician. When identified early, melanoma is 100 percent curable. Left untreated, this type of cancer can spread to other parts of the body.


Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the country, is pleased to offer summer tips for parents and their children. This information was provided by Dr. Louis Rapkin of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

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