Beach vacations likely to increase skin cancer risk in kids

February 3rd, 2009 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 3 (IANS) Vacationing by the beach might not be so safe for your kids, as it exposes them to a higher risk of skin cancer, according to a new study. For instance, it led to a five percent increase in moles among seven-year-old children. Their numbers are a major risk factor for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Melanoma rates have been rising dramatically over recent decades. More than 62,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year and more than 8,000 die.

Study co-author Lori Crane, who heads the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at Colorado School of Public Health, said the findings are applicable worldwide.

“Parents of young children need to be cautious about taking their kids on vacations that are going to be sun-intensive at waterside locations, where people are outside for whole days at a time in skin-exposing swimsuits,” said Crane. Parents often mistakenly believe that sunscreen is a cure-all, she added.

“We recommend that, for young children, parents keep the kids involved in indoor activities from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to decrease risk, or if they are to be outside, that they wear shirts with sleeves,” said Crane.

Crane and colleagues examined 681 white children born in 1998 who were lifetime residents of Colorado. Vacation histories were assessed by interview and skin exams were used to evaluate the development of moles (nevi), said a Colorado release.

These findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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