Skin Cancer: Prevention
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to prevent sunburn. Each blistering sunburn doubles the risk of developing malignant melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. It's your job to protect your child's skin. Here are some helpful and important tips:
- First: Apply sunscreen anytime he is going to be outside for more than 30 minutes. Use sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 to 30. Current sunscreens are safe for children of all ages.
- Second: Reapply sunscreen after any swimming or profuse sweating. Waterproof sunscreen really only stays on for about 30 minutes in water. All products need to be reapplied about every 4 hours.
- Third: About 15% of children have skin that never tans but only burns. They are usually fair- skinned children. They need to use a sunscreen throughout the summer.
- Fourth: Don't let overcast days fool you. Over 70% of the sun's rays can penetrate the clouds and over 30% can also penetrate a cotton T-shirt.
In summary, although skin cancer occurs in adults, it is caused by the sun exposure and sunburn that occurred during childhood. Every time you apply sunscreen to your child, you are preventing skin cancer down the line.If you have other questions about skin cancer, discuss them with your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2004
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.