Review of sun-exposure in kids

Hi All

Have a look at this commentary and abstract. Obviously something we knew already. Fascinating the stats about the current risk of melanoma (in USA obviously) vs 1935. I can get you a copy of the article if you would like.

Baby’s Sun Exposure Could Mean Cancer Later.

According to a review in the July issue of Pediatrics, it could be setting a child up for melanoma or other skin cancers later in life. UV radiation can suppress the immune system and damage skin cells – a process that may happen more quickly in babies than in adults, the authors note.

Young skin is delicate and thinner. It produces less melanin, a skin protecting pigment. UV rays can reach the pigment producing melanin cells, called melanocytes, and damage them. Damage to those cells is a “precursor to melanoma,” says Robin Gehris, M.D., the chief of pediatric dermatologic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “Infant skin may be even more prone to sun damage than we had thought, and that might be important later on for melanoma and other cancer risk,” says Gehris, who was not involved in the new review.

Sun exposure earlier in life, from infancy through adolescence, seems to be associated with different cell changes and an earlier diagnosis of melanoma than exposure in the adult years, the article points out. One study cited in the review has projected that 1 in 33 babies born today will develop melanoma during their lives, versus 1 in 1,500 babies born in 1935.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which publishesPediatrics, advises parents to keep children 6 months or younger out of the sun completely. For older babies, the AAP recommends dressing infants in brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing, applying sunscreen to any small patches of exposed skin, and minimizing sun exposure during the midday hours, when the sun is at its hottest.

  1. #1 by hein vandenbergh on June 10, 2011 - 7:45 am

    Not easy being a parent, socio-epidemiologist, or a small child and living in an industrio-capitalist society: from rickets via polio to melanoma. At least we have the communication-systems in place to educate, and children generally are one helluvalot better of than in days of yore.

    I still reckon a little dab of UV is a good idea even in little ones: quality bones + induction of immune system mediated melanocyte DNA repair mechanism – fitter, stronger kids, and a reduced chance of melanoma later in life. It’s the XS, either purposely or accidentally [these days primarily the latter], which primes the melanocyte for later cancerous change.

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