What is Melanoma Monday?

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During Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) designates the first Monday of May to raise awareness of melanoma and other types of skin cancer and to encourage early detection through self-exams. 

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 500 children are diagnosed with pediatric melanoma each year. This accounts for about 2% of childhood cancers.

Because exposure to UV light is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, the AAD encourages everyone to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher.

Melanoma symptoms vary from child to child. It’s a good idea to examine carefully any moles or other spots on your child’s skin.

When examining your child's moles, remember ABCDEF:

  • Asymmetry: Is one side of the mole different than the other?
  • Border irregularity: Are the edges ragged or irregular?
  • Color variation: Is the mole getting darker? Is part of it changing color or does it contain several colors?
  • Diameter: Is the mole bigger than ¼ inch?
  • Evolution: Is the mole growing in width or height?
  • Feeling: Has the sensation around a mole or spot changed?

Pediatric melanoma is rare. If your child has any of the above symptoms, they likely are caused by a less serious problem. However, be sure to tell your doctor if you see any abnormal bump, mole or spot on your child’s skin.

Thank you for your continued support as we keep up the advocacy efforts for children with melanoma and all kids with cancer for more research, better treatments, and improved survivorship programs.

Sources: MD Anderson Cancer Center, American Academy of Dermatology

Header image credit: GettyImages