CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
Melanoma in children is a cancer of the skin which begins with the cells that give pigment (color) to skin, hair, and eyes. Most melanomas occur in the skin, although they can also occur in the eye.
Although melanoma is not the most common skin cancer, it is the most serious one. About 60,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States and about 450 of these patients are under 20.
The warning signs of skin melanoma are often called the A B C D E’s of melanoma and include:
Other signs include a mole that is bleeding, itches, or has developed a break in the skin. A lump near the mole or in the lymph glands close to the mole should also be looked at by a doctor.
There are no blood tests that can screen or diagnose melanoma. This is why it is important that you report any of the above warning signs to your child’s physician promptly. Survival rates are high when melanoma is diagnosed and treated early.
To find out whether the melanoma has spread or not, a physician will feel the lymph nodes around the area of the melanoma. The doctor may order a test called a sentinel node biopsy in order to see if the tumor has spread to the lymph glands closest to the melanoma. If the lymph gland is involved with melanoma, the doctor may recommend an operation to remove all of the lymph glands in the area. If this is the case, additional tests such as a CAT scan or PET scan may be ordered to be sure that the tumor has not spread to other parts of the body.
Melanoma can be classified according to four stages, from I to IV, indicating the severity of the disease.
About MelanomaIn Treatment for MelanomaAfter Treatment for Melanoma